The NPM (Non-Pesticide Management) Network, is a consortium of more than 30 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working predominantly with small and marginal farmers in some of the most difficult geographies of our country. These organizations work closely with more than 1.5 lakh farmers and help them cultivate their crops without any synthetic pesticides, herbicides and GM seeds.
WHAT THE NETWORK DOES
TRAINING OF FPOs
The concept of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), is a relatively recent one. Combining social imperative with the financial autonomy of a private limited companies, FPOs are a credible institutional mechanism to facilitate mobilization of farmers and achieve economies of scale resulting in greater bargaining power for smallholder farmers. However, many civil society organizations that practise and promote sustainable agricultural practices like NPM lack the wherewithal to build and efficiently manage FPOs to leverage the power of the market. The NPM Network handholds and build the capacities of FPOs in various aspects such as managing human and fiduciary resources and instituting monitoring mechanisms.
Almost all FPOs face the problem of inadequate working capital. Since most of them work with small and marginal farmers, the equity base of these FPOs is likely to be small, even with schemes like matching equity from the government. This challenge can be overcome if FPOs can be connected with institutions that facilitate affordable credit. There is also the need for capital investments in plant and machinery which the FPOs need to undertake. Such investments help bring down operational costs in the long run and make their operations viable. The Network address these issues by facilitating credit linkages with NBFCs and formal financial Institutions.
As the NPM movement expands, it is necessary to maintain a certain level of uniformity in the package of practices followed by different FPOs. In consultation with various partners, the NPM Network constantly fine-tunes the existing NPM protocols and standards and ensures that they are implemented across partner FPOs. The NPM Network also supports cross-learning and facilitates knowledge sharing of crop-specific NPM practices and handholds young FPOs that are attempting to promote NPM.
You can download the NPM Protocol
With an ever-increasing number of players in the safe food category in urban markets, it becomes imperative to verify the authenticity of safe-food claims. Pesticide Residue testing plays a critical role in achieving this objective. The FSSAI’s (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) move to mandate pesticide residue testing for organic produce is a step in this direction. The Network advises partner FPOs on commodity specific levels of residues to be tested for and also regularly guides and provides them with knowledge inputs such as existing NABL laboratories in their proximity. The lab reports that the partners generate for their produce are a crucial tool to gain consumer trust.
Processing primary commodities to move up the agricultural value chain is a great way for FPOs to augment their remuneration. At the same time, market entities gain by a reduction in their operations cost. With assured market in place the FPO can look to upgrade/invest in capital assets required for processing, cleaning and storage, which would further improve their margins. Value-addition will result in FPOs getting a larger share of the consumer rupee and lead to increased incomes for FPOs and farmers associated with the FPOs. The NPM Network helps its partner FPOs move up the value chain by providing commodity specific technical inputs on various aspects of value addition.