Champaran Krishak Producer Company Limited (CHKPCL), a Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) – an umbrella organization of approx 5,000 farmers under its belt in Bihar’s East Champaran district has sold around 20,697 kg of vegetables and 5,026 kg of lentils, achieving a big success during COVID-19 pandemic.
The success came at the time when agriculture markets saw a massive fall in the number of customers and were unable to transport their produce from the peripheral villages to the urban centres with transportation networks severely hit, they would fear that their crops will rot away and their livelihoods would remain damaged for months to come.
FPO’s work with the aim of avoiding middlemen in the supply chain and maintaining common agriculture machineries such as vehicles, godowns and others.
Talking to CEO, CHKPCL, Saroj Kumar said, that East Champaran has a high yield of vegetables and farmers under our FPO raised concern on the rotting of vegetables and hunger like situation due to disruption in supply chains.
He further explained that after knowing the plight of farmers our foundation decided to extend helping hand to ryots of Barajairam Tola Kamarcholi village in Chiraiya block of East Champaran district.
CHKPCL was established in September 2018 by Kaushalya Foundation for increasing income of farmers and within two years approx 5,000 farmers have been benefitted from it.
To help the distressed farmers CHKPCL encouraged farmers to sell their vegetables and lentils in Motihari market, which is around 25 km away from the village. To address the issue of transportation due to lockdown the FPO helped them in the transportation of the vegetables from village till the Motihari market.
Noting the challenges of hiring vehicle from other village, like timely arrival of vegetables at mandi by early morning, getting good price for perishable produces, during the lockdown due to pandemic CHKPCL decided to hire vehicle from the concern village itself. The hiring driver from the particular village helped driver in getting work and also trustworthy for the villagers for transportation. Hence it proved to be profitable for farmers and driver simultaneously, which also promoted rural economy.
Rajalal Prasad, a member of FPO, took the responsibility to collect the vegetables and lentils from other farmers of the village and further proceeded for the Motihari market. CHKPCL trained Rajalal as an entrepreneur to take the responsibility and manage the marketing within the village.
In total, around 400 farmers were benefitted with the FPO’s activity of vegetable and lentil marketing during COVID-19.
The farmers earned their profit instead of the lockdown and meanwhile the middlemen were eliminated by the involvement of FPO. Hence, farmers get profit and on the other side at Motihari market there were no disruption in demand and supply chain.
In conversation with Rajalal Prasad, he said that starvation like situations was prevailed at home due to pandemic and then Kaushalya Foundation helped us in the vegetable selling, and simultaneously we were pulled out of the situation.
Adding further he explains that initially there were many opinion clashes but after knowing the results of unity among FPO members the group agreed with the intervention of the organization and with the immediate help Brajairam Tola Kamarcholi beat the odds.
After the appreciable work of leading the group with success, Rajalal was also honoured by the other villagers and all the group members thanked Kaushalya Foundation for helping the farmers economically and showing the right way for selling the veggies.
Inspired by the success of the FPO’s activity farmers from other villages also are coming forward to come under FPO so that they can smoothly sell theirs produces in the market without any middlemen.
Recently the government has also shown interest in the formation of more FPOs across the country and aimed at form more 10,000 FPOs till 2023-24.