Recently the Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare highlighted the role of Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) in increasing incomes of small and marginal farmers through aggregation and development of agribusiness.
Established: SFAC was established in 1994 under Societies Registration Act, 1860 as an autonomous body promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
Objectives: Promoting agribusiness by encouraging institutional and private sector investments and linkages to ensure the empowerment of all farmers in the country.
Organising small and marginal farmers as Farmer Interest Groups, Farmer Producer Organisations and Farmer Producer Company for endowing them with bargaining power and economies of scale.
Few Important Schemes Implemented by SFAC: Equity Grant & Credit Guarantee Fund (EGCGF) Scheme , Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme, Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) Scheme, National Agriculture Market (NAM) Scheme, etc.
Recent Initiatives/Developments: SFAC launched the Kisan Rath app with the help of officials of the Ministry of Agriculture which lessened the problem of transport of farm produce during lockdown.
It signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to bring in better synergy in the agricultural activities.
Equity Grant & Credit Guarantee Fund (EGCGF) Scheme
The Equity Grant Fund has been set up with the primary objectives of :
Enhancing viability and sustainability, credit worthiness of Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs),
Enhancing the shareholding of members to increase their ownership and participation in their FPCs.
The Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme provides a Credit Guarantee Cover to the Eligible Lending Institution (ELI) to enable them to provide collateral free credit to FPCs.
Venture Capital Assistance
Venture Capital Assistance is financial support in the form of an interest free loan provided by SFAC to meet the shortfall in the capital requirement for implementation of the project.