The FPO Impact Awards is an initiative of ACCESS institutionalized in partnership with Rabobank. It is an endeavor in recognizing and encouraging exemplary FPO (Farmer Producer Organisations) that have overcome various challenges, to successfully build self-sustaining businesses and contribute meaningfully to the member community. It also aims to recognize such FPO promoting institutions who have worked to enable the ecosystems, influence policy, promote sustainable and scalable models and incubate innovative solutions for the growth of FPOs.
There are several constraints that hold back a rapid transformation of agricultural sector in India. Small and marginal farmers constitute about 85% in Indian agriculture, having smaller than or about two hectares of operational holdings. The vulnerability of these households is largely attributed to lower scale of operation, lack of information, poor access to credit, weak participation in the consumers’ markets and consequently, exploitation by intermediaries in procuring inputs and marketing of their produce. A variety of approaches have been tried, over the years, to address these problems. Agricultural cooperatives, formed under the Co-operative Credit Societies Act, 1904, were for long the dominant form of farmer collectives. Based on recommendations, the Government enacted a legislation to have an alternative to cooperatives, to enable the registration and operation of Producer Companies, wholly-owned and self-regulated by users, managed by professionals in the users' interest, in a manner consistent with the principles of mutual assistance. This addressed issues of the rural producers where they were at a potential disadvantage given their generally limited assets, resources, education and access to advanced technology. With the coming into force of the Companies (Amendment) Act 2002, a new form of enterprise called "Producer Company” found a place in the Act. In recent years, collectivization of producers, especially small and marginal farmers, into Producer Companies has emerged as one of the most effective pathways to address the many challenges of agriculture.
The Awards initiative would be a means to provide motivation to exemplary FPO (registered as Farmer Producer Company (under Companies Act 2013)/ Cooperative registered on or after 2002) and Promoting Institutions to continue to enhance the livelihoods and incomes of small and marginal farmers, through providing recognition to their efforts. It would also serve to enhance the credibility of the winning FPO thereby making it more attractive for market players and financial institutions.