Farmer producer organisations (FPOs) are agricultural cooperatives emerging as a practical approach towards empowering a great number of small-scale/smallholder farmers, thereby ensuring their prosperity. In countries like India, where agriculture is the primary source of income for millions of farmers, they play a significant role in improving marginalised farmers’ access to resources, which further helps boost their agricultural productivity and their incomes.
FPOs have two main objectives:
To improve farm outputs
To expand the marketability of farm produce for their members
To achieve these objectives, farmer's organizations must open themselves completely to technological interventions. All spheres of farming, such as cultivation, harvest, seed procurement, and distribution, have the potential to be expedited with the help of tech. Above all, it is the equipment that is in dire need of an update, and it is the equipment that has the most scope to be impacted by tech.
What presently exists in societies and FPOs is a very limited use of technology, restricted to list generation and entering outputs. This half-baked implementation can hardly support the cause and objective beyond a certain extent.
To sell the idea of tech, it is important to amplify its use cases for FPOs. Here are some of them:
Assessing Requirement: There is a need to sum up requirements of farmers, which could get complicated when there are a large number of farmers working on a farm together. In such a scenario, an Asset Management System can be used to track inventories on the farm, analyze the functioning of the assets, deducing their life cycles, and thus predicting the requirement of new assets. These assets could include equipment, machines, tractors, and tillers.
Mapping of Lands: Mapping all lands of the farmers with boundaries would extract details regarding the land such as soil type, groundwater levels, rainfall, elevation etc. This would in turn give clarity to an organization about the land holdings, their extent, and their access. 3D Mapping software is a crucial tool that FPOs need to take advantage of to stay ahead. All the features mentioned before are present in one map and are easy to access.
Mapping of Inventories: All inventories on a farm land, such as pump, borewell, fencing, drip irrigation, water source, tractors, tillers etc. can be mapped, tracked, and monitored using 3D Mapping software. This can help the farmers with security and inventory management.
Publishing of crop/harvest information on the map: An FPO can choose to opt for map harvest information, which is bound to have a big impact on the marketing of farm produce. Such features are designed to bridge the gap between the market and the farmers.
Forecasting market demand: Farmers can plant those crops which are high in demand in the market. They can also track which crops are in demand in which season. This is usually decided on the basis of past experience and intuition. However, using Forecasting Demand software, they can reduce waste and perishable commodities can be moved to the market at the right time to avoid a loss.
Meeting Government Requirement: Most FPOs are funded by the government and other bodies to whom they are accountable to, bringing the need to ensure that the reports are in the required format. Keeping track of the reports needed from all farmers can prove to be a hassle. A documentation management system to help farmers keep track of the required documents will avoid potential legal issues.