In time of pandemic, oil seed cultivators plough their way to profit

The Tiruchi Pasumai Groundnut Farmers Producers Company (FPC), which has been producing cooking oil under the brand name of Tiruchi Pasumai, commissioned a seed processing centre at Pannapatti near Manapparai on Wednesday.

Funded by the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business, the seed processing centre-cum-storage godown is expected to help the FPC step up its scale of business. The department has extended a grant of ₹60 lakh for the project.

Started in 2015 with just about 50 members, the FPC now has 1,100 members, most of them groundnut farmers from Manapparai, Vaiyampatti and Marungapuri blocks, an oilseed growing belt, in Tiruchi district. Significantly, 950 of its members are small and marginal farmers and about 350 are women, according to T.Thirumurugan, Promoter and Chief Executive Officer of the FPC.

Mr. Thirumurugan, who holds a degree in agriculture, has been working with farmers for the past 10 years Manapparai region encouraging them to take to technology and latest farm practices.

The FPC has been procuring in bulk and supplying inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to groundnut farmers. It also procures and markets groundnut. “We offer at least ₹50 more [for a bag of 40 kg] than the market rates. Farmers need not pay any commission whereas they will have to pay up to 10% commission in the Manapparai market. This way they can earn at least ₹2,000 to ₹3,000 more an acre,” said Mr. Thirumurugan.

The FPC had earlier commissioned a mini oil mill with wooden oil expeller (mara sekku) worth ₹10 lakh sanctioned under the Mission for Sustainable Dryland Agriculture.

“We have been producing groundnut oil, gingelly oil and coconut oil under the brand name of Tiruchi Pasumai over the past six months. We now supply regularly to residents of a few apartments in Tiruchi. The margins are thin as the market in the segment is highly competitive, but people appreciate the quality of our cold pressed oil,” he said.

Encouraged by the response, the company plans to scale up production in the coming months to 1,000 litres a month from the current average of 200 litres. It has also applied for Agmark certification and has already received export licence.

“We plan to explore possibilities for online marketing and exports too,” Mr.Thirumurgan said.

According to K. Murugan, Deputy Director of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business, who inaugurated the seed processing centre, the department has also recommended sanction of ₹10 lakh as a soft loan to the FPC to meet their working capital requirements in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have also allotted two shops to the FPC at the Integrated Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers at Kallikudi in Tiruchi. The FPC shops will open once the market becomes functional,” he added.

The seed processing centre-cum-storage godown is one of three sanctioned by the department for the district during 2019-20.

The other two units, also costing ₹60 lakh each, are being established by ManVin FPC at Sirunatham near Thuraiyur and Tiruchi Malaikottai Paddy FPC at Peruvalanallur.

“Civil works were underway and the units will be commissioned soon,” Mr. Murugan said.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 7:39:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/in-time-of-pandemic-success-story-from-the-field/article31911667.ece

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