Expert Panel to Launch TCI Hub for FPO Promotion
The Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI) will hold a virtual event celebrating the launch of the Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) Hub within its Center of Excellence on Wednesday, September 1, at 8 a.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. IST. The event will be live-streamed at facebook.com/tatacornellinstitute and features a panel of experts from the government, the private sector, donor organizations, and civil society.
Created with support from the Walmart Foundation and housed within TCI’s Center of Excellence, the FPO Hub is a repository of learnings, information, and knowledge for the advancement of FPOs in India. By supporting the effective promotion of FPOs, TCI and the Walmart Foundation aim to help Indian smallholder farmers to take advantage of growing opportunities in the agricultural sector, improving their livelihoods while increasing the availability of nutritious foods.
The event’s expert panel will be chaired by TCI Director Prabhu Pingali. Panelists include:
- Julie Gehrki, Walmart Foundation
- P.V.S. Suryakumar, NABARD
- S. Sivakumar, ITC
- Padmaja Ravula, ICRISAT
- Satyabrata Acharyya, PRADAN
The event will also feature a demonstration of TCI’s new Database for Indian FPOs. The dashboard brings data on thousands of Indian FPOs onto an accessible platform to facilitate greater research on small-farm aggregation models.
With around 86 percent of India’s 145 million farms measuring only slightly more than half a hectare, aggregating into FPOs is a key strategy for farmers to benefit from large economies of scale to access credit, inputs, technology, and markets. For the past 20 years, philanthropic actors, corporations, and governments have shown strong interest in using FPOs to develop agricultural sectors and reduce poverty. In India, the government has made FPO formation a priority, helping to create more than 3,000 FPOs in 2017 alone.
However, despite this focus and new avenues of support, FPO success stories are rare. Limited financing opportunities and the long period of time necessary for FPOs to become self-sufficient are major barriers to success, as are weak market linkages, high coordination costs, government interference, inadequate managerial expertise, low levels of trust, and the exclusion of women.
Part of TCI’s project on FPO-Led Small Farm Market Access Models, the FPO Hub will assess the FPO promotion experience of philanthropic actors, government, and private entities in India and Mexico. Learnings from these experiences will be used to formulate operational, context-specific models capable of improving smallholder income and welfare. The project will also develop action research projects and create a dissemination platform in India through which stakeholders involved in creating and supporting FPOs can access information, technical help, and guidance.