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"Farmers Protection Act"?

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"Farmers Protection Act"?
#50
<!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo--> Could this be solution to farmers' suicide?
Rural Amreli redefines corporate farming
ABHISHEK KAPOORPosted online: Monday, August 28, 2006 at 0000 hrs Print EmailTwo farmer corporates in Gujarat eliminate middlemen, market own produce

KHAMBA (AMRELI), AUGUST 27:It was a simple boardroom resolution: The board resolves to set up a company owned by farmers that will generate income, earn profits and distribute dividends.

But this boardroom meeting last month, complete with minutes being taken, was different. Because it was attended by farmers of 16 villages of Khamba in Amreli district in Gujarat who redefined corporate farming last month.

With an authorised share capital of Rs 1 lakh, the farmers set up a private limited company, Avirat Agro, under the Companies Act, 1956. Dedicated to agriculture, the company will do all that a corporate house does, with a farmer’s perspective.

In neighbouring Dhari taluka, 10 villages have come together to set up a similar company, the Dhari Krushak Agro Producers Company Limited. It marks a new chapter in the farming history of Gujarat, a cradle of the cooperative movement.

“Thank you, government. We are on our own. Each director of the company knows all members, even their families, by name and face. That is the motivation to come together and work for profits,” says Avirat chief executive Dahyabhai Patel, a former state land development corporation employee.

A 2002 amendment in the Companies Act motivated the farmers, while two local NGOs acted as catalysts to see them through. “In 1997, pre-arranged meetings would see thin attendance. For the board meeting today, every member came despite it being the first sunny day after a month of rains,” points out Dhiru Vagadia of Amreli-based Education and Social Welfare Centre. He guided the bunch of farmers through the legal maze to reach this stage.

Avirat’s objectives include eliminating the middlemen whether it’s procurement of seeds, fertilisers and pesticide for its members. A list of companies like Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), IFFCO, GNFC, GEDA, and some agriculture implement manufacturing firms has been drawn and two directors deputed to communicate with them.

“We will now procure directly from these companies at agency rates rather than go through traders. Their profits will be our saving. This will offset any possibility of duplicate seeds coming to us through unscrupulous traders,” says Ashok Shelar, one of the directors from Bhad village.

The last board meeting decided to depute two directors to liaison with seed, fertilizer and pesticide companies and get them to accept Avirat as the agency for their products. The directors are upbeat and the brainstorming feverish. To start with, they are focusing on setting up a unit of two per cent paramethane dust, a pesticide used to protect groundnut crop. “We use it in large quantities and for this, depend on just one company based in Rajkot. It does not cost much and we have enough money to set up our own,” says Chatur Shedalia, representing Rugnathpur village and deputed by the board to work on the project. The joke on how the government never comes close to understanding agriculture. An agriculture department press release makes them smile. “They say it’s going to be a good crop this year. With the kind of rains we have seen, all groundnut has been stunted,” says Magan Sajaliya of Pachpachia village, one of the directors.

The Dhari company has gone a step ahead by setting up a shop to sell seeds. But like all new ideas, this also has teething problems. Says Development Support Centre (DSC) chief Anil Shah: “We came to know of this concept through the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). It has its benefits in primarily cutting out bureaucratic control of the cooperatives department. Now the farmers need to file returns and forget the rest. But the government machinery is taking its time to accept this. Our Dhari company is yet to get a licence to trade agricultural products.” .

V K Khubchandani, Gujarat Registrar of Companies, says the concept will catch up fast as it makes the whole process of a farmers’ association more professional. “It sounds good to be the owner of a private limited company. Also the act tends to focus more on income generation. I hear of some farmers in Rajasthan and Maharashtra too opting for it,” says Khubchandani.

At a time when corporate farming is the buzz, a beginning of a different kind has been made in Amreli.

abhishek.kapoor@expressindia.com
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&quot;Farmers Protection Act&quot;? - by Guest - 05-20-2004, 05:56 AM
&quot;Farmers Protection Act&quot;? - by Guest - 05-21-2004, 07:48 PM
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&quot;Farmers Protection Act&quot;? - by Guest - 05-24-2004, 09:31 PM
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