Success Story

Tale of Mahishmti FPC - A Journey of Prosperity through Agri Marketing

Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh is primarily a tribal area with rich historical anecdotes. The area could be bracketed as one of the most promising from agricultural point of view as on one hand, it is fostered by river Narmada and on the other, it is well connected with big cities like Nagpur, Jabalpur and Raipur. Ironically, these coincidences have not worked much in favour of local tribal farmers. Out of the 9 blocks in the district, only 2 are irrigated and rest are fully dependent on rains. So, when an agri enterprise Ekgaon reached the area in search of avenues for backward integration for its business, it found it wise to first help in strengthening foundation of better farming in the area. It started with advisory services through mobile phones.

In 2 years, when the farmers picked up the rules of water management, land preparation, seed treatment and judicious usage of fertilizers and pesticides, the result started showing in increased production. Then to market the surplus produce, the farmers formed a Farmer Producer Company and registered it in April 2015 as Mahishmti FPC Ltd. After the incorporation, the company started its activity with the seed supply to its members. They talked to a couple of seed dealers and delivered the seeds as per the farmers’ demand at their doorstep. Around 300 farmers among 400 founder members got benefitted by the activity by the way of discounted price, less travel time and shared transport cost. The FPC registered a turnover of around 5 lakhs with around Rs. 50 profit to farmers on each bag (equalling 3 kg).

Although the FPC also facilitated the farmers to buy fertilizers on fair prices, it decided not to promote chemical fertilizers. Reason being Mandla a tribal dominant area where fertilizers are used in a very limited amount traditionally. As almost all the farmers in the area possess cattle, the FPC decided to promote the usage of their dung and urine as natural manure and since then have been doing it.

But the seed experiment found many takers and the turnover kept on increasing gradually. What started with a turnaround of Rs. 5-5.5 lakh in 2015-16 is poised to cross Rs. 25 lakh this year, claims Surendra Gupta of Mashishmti FPC. But the goal is to end the dependence on traders. So, the company plans to produce seeds of Wheat and Gram going forward. They have already talked to Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) for the procurement of Foundation-I seeds and have marked 20 acres to sow it from next season.

Besides, the FPC, in its early days, also experimented by getting around 500 farmers to sow 1509 Basmati variety with a promise of buyback. Unfortunately, some issue cropped up with Indian Basmati rice in International market that year and the FPC had to struggle to sell its produce at MSP. After the bitter experience, Mahishmti FPC decided to focus more on agri marketing in tried and tested crops only.

Apart from the traditional ways, the Company has also started trading on agri commodity exchange NCDEX recently. “It was the first time when we sold 10 MT Chana on NCDEX platform in last month series. We did the trade against a physical stock of same amount that we have with us. The physical stock is still lying with us and as prices dropped in the physical market they protected us by hedging and we could save Rs 24,000 in the trade. We are happy we have got such a progressive and assuring marketing medium,” said Gupta. Such continuous experiments are winning hearts for Mahishmti FPC and its membership has crossed 1000. Apart from using futures trade, it has forayed also into packaging, contract farming and direct selling to augment the income level of its farmers.

Author

MANU SHANKAR
SENIOR MANAGER
National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited 



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