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Andhra Pradesh - Vijayawada Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Plan to strengthen Rythu Mitra groups

K.N. Murali Sankar

Krishna district farmers' bargaining capacity and marketing skills will be improved

VIJAYAWADA: Buoyed by the success of women self-help groups, the district administration is planning to strengthen the Rythu Mitra groups in the district and make farmers benefit from the concept of working together.

According to the plan, the groups would have linkage with credit institutions and its members would get loans on time to procure fertilisers and pesticides. Strengthening of the groups would also help farmers to enhance their bargaining capacity, marketing skills and knowledge of modern methods of farming.

10,600 groups

The district has already recorded 10,600 Rythu Mitra groups covering over 1.5 lakh farmers.

The groups, however, have no activity and many farmers do not know what they have to do as members of the group.

"A group can achieve what an individual cannot. We have conducted meetings with credit institutions and asked them to provide agriculture loans to the groups. Since there is collective responsibility on repayment of loan, bankers have come forward to give loans," says the district Collector, Navin Mittal.

First phase

The Collector has a four-phase plan to strengthen the groups in which linkage of groups with credit institutions is the first phase.

"Availability of credit at the right time is a major problem for many farmers. This arrangement will help them to get hassle-free loans and even the tenant-farmers can get loans," he explains.

Procurement of inputs and collective marketing are the next two phases.

Seed quantity

When compared to an individual farmer, a group of farmers requires more quantity of seeds, fertilisers and pesticides. By purchasing these inputs as a group, they can bargain with distributors, save transportation charges and get qualitative products.

Same is the case with marketing of agriculture produce, for which the groups can fix a support price.

Mr. Mittal says that a fertiliser company has come forward to give its dealership to Rythu Mitra groups in Gudivada area, which he feels is a good sign.

"Sharing of knowledge is another important phase and the benefits of this phase will be seen in the long run. The farmers can also develop the concept of seed village and get qualitative seeds from their own fields," he says.

The administration has divided the existing groups into three categories and selected 2,600 groups to link with credit institutions.

It will also use the services of agriculture officers to enlighten the members of remaining groups and encourage them to meet regularly and discuss their problems.

"It is a three-year plan and we will increase the number of groups to be linked with credit institutions every year. At the end of third year, all the existing groups will take up the four-phase activity. Similarly, we will work out plans to form some more groups to ensure that each farmer is member of Rythu Mitra group," Mr. Mittal said.

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