A special meet of India’s leading farmers & farmer companies with Industry, policy makers and BSE Management on February 22, 2022 in the BSE International Convention Hall celebrateda mission of “AtmanirbharKrushi” on the occasion of “Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav.”The programme was organised with 3 important agendas: 1.Inauguration of special book by Cottonguru® on “BSE Journey with Cotton Farmers/ Farmer Producer Organisatiions (FPOs). 2.Signing of an MoU between BSE and CottonguruMahaFPO, a Federation of over 50 other FPOs comprising over 35,000 farmers.3.Policy advocacy to increase the yield and income of Indian cotton farmers.

The major event was the inauguration of the book on “BSE Journey” with Cotton Farmers/Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs). This book will take you all through the extensive Journey of about 200 webinars with same number of FPOs conducted by Cottonguru® with support from BSE. The webinars covered everything from sowing to marketing, micro finance options, Govt. schemes & business planning. The subjects were chosen as per the need of the participating FPO. Market updates were shared in every webinars so that the farmers are able to make profits out of their agri produce, especially cotton.

Indian farmers are the backbone of our nation’s economy. Agriculture sector accounts for 18% of India’s GDP and provides employment to nearly 60% workers. India is the largest producer of cotton in the world but cotton farmers are prone to all sorts of risks such as price risk, disease risk, climate risk, etc.

BSE has started this series of webinars to link farmers to futures trade for price risk management. Cotton bales trading encompasses a long chain of activities which must be integrated in seamless value addition from production to marketing. This is extremely difficult.

CottonguruMaha Farmer Producer Co. Ltd (Commonly known as CottonguruMaha FPO Federation), is a glorious example of FPOs trading in cotton futures platform. It is a market-oriented company which provides integrity, sustainability & profitability for shareholders and customers. CottonguruMaha FPO established farmer centric aggregation and marketing model in cotton and has signed an MoU with the BSE for assisting other FPOs in price discovery & risk management.

The event was attended by Mr Ashishkumar Chouhan (BSE MD & CEO), Mr Sameer Patil (Chief Business Officer), Mr Pinakin Dave (Deputy General Manager) & other BSE and BSE- IPF team members. Cottonguru® team was represented by Mr Manish Daga (MD), MsChhayaDaga (Director) and other members from agriculture and marketing dept.

Directors of India’s 15 most progressive Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO’s) working in cotton had come from all parts of Maharashtra, M.P. and North India. One of the DirectorsMrPralhadBorgad (Surya FPO,Hingoli) has had direct conversation with Hon. Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi for extraordinary trade on e-Naam online trading platform. Other Director Dr. Vijay Ladole (Vaipulya FPO, Vidarbha) has recently visited Uzbekistan to study on increasing yield. Both these personalities are founder members of CottonguruMahaFPO Federation.

Advisors of CottonguruMahaFPO Federation who graced the occasion with their presence wereDr. Sudhir Goel (Former Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture & Marketing, Govt. of Maharashtra) and Mr G. Chandrasekhar (Economic Advisor IMC Chamber and Director IMC-ERTF). Other dignitaries & thought leaders who attended the event were Mr. Sanjay Panigrahi (Marketing – Cotton Corporation of India), Mr. Deepak Tavare (CMD – Maharashtra State Warehouse Corporation), Mr.HareshwarMagare (Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission), Mr. Vijay Koleker (Project on Climate Resilient Agriculture in Maharashtra), Mr Amit Naphade (Krushi Vikas NGO) and Mr. Ashutosh Deshpande (Reliance Foundation).

During his presentation, Cottonguru® shared the following suggestions for policy makers.  1)Tax benefit for investors of Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO). 2)Market-facing companies will require significant infusion of capital, which can be facilitated by modifying the Producer Companies Act 2002 to allow PCs to raise external capital through a different class of shares with no voting rights, and with restrictions on the maximum amount of equity per external investor. 3)Encourage CSR spending on projects by FPO Federations and it’s member FPOs. 4)The market-facing companies can be registered as social enterprises

Everyone in the gathering agreed that agriculture has a great role and potential in India’s economy. The current target of US$50 billion export is sustainable only if we focus on exports of processed agro produce, building strong supply chains & increasing direct participation of FPOs & farmers in processing & exports. Strong rural economy will lead to increase in consumption, demand, employment, expenditure & ultimately result in increasing India’s GDP.

“KisaanHasegatohdeshbasega”. The event was organised by Cottonguru® and Hosted by BSE.