Socially homogeneous groups, voluntary and democratic in nature, focused on product-specific clusters or commercial crop cycles, with checks and penalties in place, were conceptualised as FOs. They were intended to provide quality inputs and services for intensive agricultural production and enhance cluster competitiveness, bring in best agricultural practices for enhanced productivity, and facilitate farmers to fair and remunerative markets through aggregations. Harnessing the competence and capabilities of rural producers, blending them with professionals for enhancing the net incomes and purchasing power of members, ensuring long term sustainability of the formations is the action plan. Along with are the functions of capacity building in integrated farming, arranging with financial institutions, primary and secondary value addition, marketing the produce and women empowerment. Taking advantage of the public policies and governmental schemes would add to the strength of the organisations.
Dr S Ayyappan, has significantly contributed to the R&D of fisheries sector in particular and agriculture in general. He has served the country in different roles of Director, ICAR-CIFE, Mumbai; DDG (Fisheries), ICAR, New Delhi and Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR before joining as the NABARD Chair Professor at ICAR-NDRI, SRS, Bengaluru. His scientific contributions towards the developments of agriculture are well appreciated and he has been bestowed with many patents and awards.
Dr Letha Devi G is currently working as Senior Scientist at ICAR-NIANP, Bengaluru. Her research interests include climate change and Indian livestock and ICTs in agriculture. She has been associated with various research projects on climate vulnerability analysis of livestock farming and development of various ICT tools for livestock farmers.
Dr Sreenath Dixit is currently the Director of ICAR -ATARI, Bengaluru. Earlier he worked at ICAR-NRC Cashew, Puttur; ICAR-CRIDA, Hyderabad and ICRISAT, Hyderabad. He has successfully steered several projects funded by national and international agencies like the DFID, ACIAR and the World Bank. He has over 180 publications to his credit. He has won several awards including Vasantrao Naik Award for dryland agriculture and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Award for Tribal Agriculture improvement and Young Scientist award of the Indian Society of Extension Education early in his career.