To improve farmers' marketing techniques for a suitable price

: Despite witnessing a bumper harvest of agricultural and horticultural produce, farmers could not get better price. Though Tuticorin has got potential for producing pulses, chillies and bananas, marketing trends are not in upswing. Hence, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has devised Producers Organisation Development Fund (PODF) to empower farmers with knowledge.

M.R. Natarajan, District Development Manager, NABARD, told The Hindu here on Monday that a collective platform would be set up to fuel hopes of farmers for a better market. Farmers were still woefully ignorant about the market value of the produce and new ideas should be explored to take them in the path of prosperity.

With the advent of its repositioning exercise, NABARD has decided to finance producers' organisations with 20 farmers in each organisation. They would be eligible to get direct credit along with grant support (up to 20 per cent of the project cost).

Previously government agencies, banks and non government organisations had links with NABARD with various financial and developmental projects but now the door is open to farmers if they combine to form an organisation. Under the guiding principle, PODF would be used to support the producers' organisation in terms of credit support, capacity building and market linkage.

Underlining the greater need for participation, the producers' organisation should undertake all facilitation works in marketing as executed by traders. “While traders are flourishing, farmers are perishing. Since farmers do not have credit for cultivation of crops, capacity to store the produce and no patience to wait and sell the produce at times of market upswing, traders take advantage of it,” Mr. Natarajan added.

The farmers could flourish if they improved marketing techniques for a suitable price.