We envision that smallholders are wealthy, resilient, responsible and no longer subsidy oriented. Farmers and youth see agriculture as enterprise; practice sustainable farming practices,combining new technologies, innovation, market integration and farm diversification. Through developing agri-business, establishing infrastructure and enterprises, women and men benefit from increased economic returns, farm production and farm assets.
Farmers are empowered and effectively managing resources judiciously, and women play active role in farm-related decisions. Markets, bankers, technical/research institutions and government engage with farmers for business, programmes and policy. Overall, agriculture becomes a preferred profession for the youth
We achieve this through our model Farm Enterprise Facilitation Centre (FEFC), delivering farm advisory and planning, enabling enterprise development and linkages for inputs, farm services and marketing, establishing infrastructure by the farmers and entrepreneurs, and strengthening producer organisations at various levels. Each FEFC with about 10,000 farmers (five FPOs) established will be ‘business-viable’ and continue to support farmers post grant support
The Farm Enterprise Facilitation Center model was initiated based on a study done for State Planning Commission of MP where reach of agricultural extension for tribal was a challenge. Vrutti took the challenge to make smallholder agriculture extension more demand driven; for which farmers needs to start looking at agriculture as ‘enterprises’ and extension provider becomes ‘business development service providers’.
This is how the first AEFC model was developed in 2010. NABARD recognised this as an innovation and funded under the Rural Innovation Fund; Budni and Bankhedi were covered. With the support of SFAC and NABARD, particularly for the producer’s institutions, these have been taken to 10 districts in Madhya Pradesh. The World Bank Development Market Place awarded a grant to replicate this model in Chhattisgarh to cover 3,000 farmers. The DFID under its Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF) awarded to replicate this in Tamil Nadu with 9,000 farmers. Over a period of three years or so, Vrutti has fine-tuned and modelled this well.
The FEFC model (going beyond agriculture to farming in general – including allied) in its current form is being implemented by Vrutti across 8 States, covering 120,000 farmers (both directly by Vrutti and through its partners). Each of the components of FEFC have been tested and are scaled up in a large way. Productivity increases, quality of production, production quantities, use of localised inputs, adoption of sustainable practices, entrepreneurs taking up inputs supply and production, etc. have been well tested out. FPOs as key farmer institution to support and sustain the work is being established.
The components of the FEFC are:Farmer Level :
- Farm advisory and planning, demand generation for adoption of improved and sustainable practices and technology
- Aggregation of demand for inputs (seeds, fertilisers, pesticides) and services (equipment and machineries) and facilitating linkages for access
- Farmer level awareness on financial inclusion and services for farming and enterprises, aggregation of demand and linkages for various financial services through FIG, FPO and direct linkages to farmers
- Aggregation of demand for farm outputs marketing (commodities, dairy, poultry, etc.) and linked up to for value addition and marketing through FPO or direct,
- Farm level planning and support for allied enterprises based on need, aspiration and demand
- Women Farmers' awareness on farming practices, technologies and enterprises, and support through BDS providers and Self Help Groups
- Farmers' awareness on sustainable farming practices and provision of support through BDS providers, enterprises and government support for adoption
- Continuous training and mentoring support for the Board of Directors, Key Leaders and Office bearers of the FPOs; and support in establishment of systems and procedures, and linkages for support for the FPO.
- Support in identifying, supporting and establishing enterprises at various levels - support in market opportunity identification, business plans, linkages, mentoring and advisory, etc.
These are done systematically, with each FEFC going through the entire range of these processes. Farmer specific information is collected, tracked and used for facilitating linkages and support