Fostering FPOs: Transforming Indian Agriculture

Prof. V Padmanand
Prof. V Padmanand
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In the Indian agriculture sector, a persistent challenge has been the fragmentation of land holdings into small farms. This phenomenon has hindered farmers’ ability to efficiently procure inputs, invest in production technology and directly market their produce, leading to reduced and stagnant incomes. In this regard, farmer producer organisations (FPOs) have emerged as a formidable solution, enabling farmers to come together for increased bargaining power and access to vital support services.

Grant Thornton Bharat has taken a leading role in spearheading the promotion of FPOs in India. The journey began in collaboration with the World Bank and expanded to encompass other partners, including the ADB, government and CSR foundations. The overarching mission is to address challenges on both the supply and demand sides of agricultural value chains, with a particular focus on improving storage and post-harvest value adding facilities.

The World Bank has played a crucial role in supporting groundbreaking programmes aimed at strengthening and promoting FPOs. Notable among them are the Maharashtra Agriculture Competitiveness Project (MACP), Rajasthan Agriculture Competitiveness Project (RACP), Assam Project for Agriculture and Rural Transformation (APART), State of Maharashtra Agriculture and Rural Transformation (SMART) project, and Tamil Nadu Irrigation and Agriculture Mechanisation Project (TNIAMP). These initiatives are strategically designed to foster agricultural growth and empower farmers.

The related project development objective (PDO), outlay and programme components, which also pivoted around formation and promotion of FPOs may be viewed as follows:

Programme contours of WB-assisted programmes

PDO Increase productivity, profitability and market access of the farming community in Maharashtra Support the development of inclusive and competitive agriculture value chains, focusing on smallholder farmers and agri-entrepreneurs in Maharashtra Sustainably increase agriculture productivity and farmer's income in selected locations of Rajasthan Enhance productivity and climate resilience of irrigated agriculture, improve water management and increase market opportunities for farmers and agro-entrepreneurs in selected sub-basin areas in Tamil Nadu Add value and improve resilience of selected agriculture value chains, focusing on smallholder farmers and agro-entrepreneurs in targeted districts of Assam
Outlay INR 708.20 crore
(USD 94.42 million)
INR 2250 crore
(USD 300 million)
INR 832.50 crore
(USD 111 million)
NR 3007.95 crore
(USD 401.06 million
NR 1500 crore
(USD 200 million)
Programme Component
  • Intensification and diversification of market-led production
  • Improvement of farmers access to markets
  • Enhancing institutional capacity to support agricultural transformation
  • Expanding market access and supporting enterprise growth
  • Building risk mitigation mechanisms
  • Market-led agriculture technology transfer
  • Agribusiness promotion facility
  • Livestock services
  • Market information services
  • Irrigation and water management - INR 2329 crore (USD 352.93 million)
  • Agriculture productivity enhancement, diversification, improved livelihoods, marketing and value addition-INR 629.13 crore (USD 95.32 million)
  • Enable agri-enterprise development
  • Facilitate agro-cluster development
  • Market-led production and resilience enhancement

These programmes have not only pioneered but also complemented the promotion of FPOs at the state level. For example, in Maharashtra, MACP and SMART have supported more than 400 FPOs, while RACP has nurtured 30 FPOs in Rajasthan. TNIAMP has formed 120 FPOs and strengthened 70 more in Tamil Nadu, and APART has supported more than 100 FPOs in Assam. 

What sets World Bank-supported FPOs apart is their integrated support, enabling them to converge with and leverage government schemes effectively.


What sets World Bank-supported FPOs apart is their integrated support, enabling them to converge with and leverage government schemes effectively.


In addition to these initiatives, Grant Thornton Bharat is actively handholding FPOs in West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Gujarat under various livelihood missions. Team GT’s expertise has made it a prominent service provider in the outcomes-seeking market segment.

In conclusion, the promotion and strengthening of FPOs represent a pivotal step in transforming Indian agriculture and improving the lives of millions of farmers. Organisations like Grant Thornton, in collaboration with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), CSR foundations, and the government, are driving progress towards a more prosperous and sustainable future for Indian agriculture, one FPO at a time. The journey is ongoing, with the promise of a brighter and more inclusive agricultural sector for all.