Farmer Producer Organisations are consortium of small farmers and most appropriate institutional forms to mobilize farmers and facilitate them to enhance their capacity to leverage production collectively and building up their production and marketing strength. As an effort to empower these FPOs, ReMS has endeavoured to support FPOs under its Corporate social responsibility policy.
In the year 2016-17, three FPOs formed under the guidance of coconut development board from coconut growing areas of Tumkur were funded for establishing coconut oil processing unit to take up value addition to their produce. Since funding to FPOs, activities of farmer members in Kalpathirtha, Kunigal and Kalpatharu FPOs have expanded. Farmer members are made aware of the facility through meetings, “watsapp” mobile phone messages. Copra and coconuts are purchased from farmers to be processed to coconut oil or virgin coconut and are marketed in branded packages in different volumes to customers. FPO has established a loyal base of customers through word of mouth promotion, participation and display of products in Krishimelas, CDB organised programmes etc.
Major demand for coconut and copra comes from Northern India in the manufacture of confectionaries, festive rituals and culinary consumption of raw coconut. Since establishment of processing units, a new market venue has been created locally and farmer members sell their coconuts to FPOs, use the processing facility to get their coconuts processed to coconut oil by paying processing charges. This facility has saved on their transportation cost, time on selling their produce to distant market besides bringing in transparency in the price discovery without the involvement of middlemen; on time sales settlement to farmer’s either through online or cash payment. Farmers are also able to sell coconut oil to local retails, thus adding to income. Around 37,000 farmer members of FPOs and other non-members famers are benefitted by this support.
Approximately 4000 litres of oil has been processed and sold to consumers by FPO run units. Normal coconut oil is sold at rate of Rs.300 per litre and virgin coconut oil(VCO) is sold at Rs. 500 per litre. Depending on the size, 10 -15 coconuts are required for extraction of one litre coconut oil from copra and approximately 15-20 coconuts are required to extract 1 litre of VCO. Units are having capacity to process 20 litres of normal coconut oil and 5-6 litres of VCO per day. Virgin coconut oil processing takes longer time as it is extracted from raw coconut and multiple labour dependent process are followed. Coconuts are procured from farmers at prices prevailing in the market. Processing charge of Rs.60/litre for VCO and Rs.10-15 for normal coconut oil is collected, with 20% discount for farmer members. FPOs also undertake purchase and sales of coconut and copra to traders, bulk buyers and exporters as per the demand.
Zero waste management practice is carried on in these units. Residuals like coir and dust are used as fuel for roasting, Coconut shells fetch good prices in activated charcoal market. By-products of coconut processing i.e., coconut meal is sold to hotels and confectionary making units. The very name of coconut “Kalpavruksha”, itself implies all round economic benefits to farmers. FPOs are gaining popularity and expanding their units to the nearby villages, meaning an ideal sign of any successful business venture. The profits generated by FPOs are shared between.
The success of these FPOs associated with ReMS under Corporate Responsibility policy has drawn the attention of other FPOs and have come seeking similar support from ReMS under CSR. In the year 2017-18, Akshayavrutta and Kalpavrutta two FPOs from Hosadurga talukas are also funded for establishing oil processing units in the year 2017-18. These FPOs too are following the similar venture path.