Agri-Business

For farmers, by farmers

A view of the retail outlet of Nachalur Farmers' Producer Company at Nachalur village in Karur district that sells fertilizers and pesticides. Photo: A. Muralitharan  

For farmers, by farmers. This is the slogan that drives Nachalur Farmers’ Producer Company (NFPCL) in Nachalur village of Kulithalai taluk in Karur district of Tamil Nadu. With 650 farmers from 40 villages as members, this public limited company is a pioneer in ensuring the right farm input at the right time, at the right price.

“It all began at a master farmers’ training programme organised by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in 2011,” recalls G. Karikalan, Managing Director, who left a 15-year career in the IT industry to plunge into farming. The participant farmers mulled the idea of forming a company for themselves, primarily to address farm issues, instead of looking to the government for help. The only model available at that time was the Punjab Organic Farmers’ Producer Company.

After consultation with experts and auditors, the NFPCL was incorporated under the Companies Act in June 2012, with an investment of Rs.25, 000 each from 50 farmers. Later, it was split as shares with a face value of Rs.5,000 each. It started business in August and registered a turnover of Rs.37 lakh in 2012-13. The turnover for 2014-15 was Rs.1.42 crore.

Today, the company runs a seed, fertilizer and pesticide outlet; operates a seed processing unit and provides weather updates, technical solutions to farmers’ problems and farm machinery at reasonable rent, besides offering labour service for planting under System of Rice Intensification. It has a tie-up with m-KRISHI, a rural service delivery platform of Tata Consultancy Services, to offer information on weather, fertilizers, pesticides and soil and water conservation over mobile phone.

The company gets assistance and support from NABARD, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Karur, run by the Saraswathi Foundation for Rural Development and Training. The NFPCL has tied up with five leading fertilizer companies and four pesticide companies to sell quality inputs. It also has experts on-call to address issues raised by farmers.

The seed processing unit, with a capacity to process two tonnes per hour, provides quality Bapatla 5204 paddy seeds to farmers in villages located in a radius of 20 km around Nachalur.

Besides paddy seeds, the unit also processes black gram and maize seeds. It plans to construct a modern rice mill to eliminate middlemen in rice trade. The company’s warehouse stocks adequate chemical and organic fertilizers round-the-year. It stands as guarantor for loans taken by farmers.

“The objective of starting the company was to ensure that farmers should not feel cheated. It has considerably reduced unnecessary use of fertilizers and helped farmers to escape from tie-up sale of traders. Its impact is visible in Kulithalai taluk,” says Mr. Karikalan. C. Sivakumar, a farmer, says that the company, unlike traders, does not revise prices even when the demand is at its peak.

Since the Nachalur company’s formation in 2012, similar ventures have sprung up, some on a larger scale, all over Tamil Nadu. The NFPCL is now involved in the process of starting a state-level producer company, Consortium of Farmer Producers' Companies – Tamil Nadu. “We hope to get it incorporated soon,” says Mr. Karikalan.

More details can be had from G. Karikalan, Managing Director, Nachalur Farmers’ Producer Company, 37/4 Valluvar Nagar, Nachalur Post, Kulithalai Taluk, Karur District, 639 110. Phone: 97512 22211. e-mail: nfpclnch@gmail.com., rinithaakarikalan@gmail.com

annamalai.s@thehindu.co.in


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 4:47:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/agri-business/for-farmers-by-farmers/article7695088.ece

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