Guwahati, March 25: “Cooperatives societies can be the instrument of rural development particularly agriculture,” minister of state for agriculture Parshottam Rupala said on Wednesday even as he noted that these entities are yet to catch the fancy of the youth and there was a need to attract them into this model.
He added, “Numerous economic opportunities are available for the youth in the cooperative sector. But not many are coming forward. They think that cooperatives are some old-fashioned concept run by elderly people. It is our responsibility to introspect how to make them part of the cooperatives which holds huge potential to push the country’s economic growth.”
Notably, Rupala while addressing the first general body meeting of the Cooperative Sector Exports Promotion Council (COOPEXCIL). The first-ever COOPEXCIL has been set up under the stewardship of the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), a cooperative focused financial organisation under the Union Agriculture Ministry to show direction to the cooperatives in exporting their value-added products.
The minister urged the NCDC to consider hand holding of Farmers Producer Organisations (FPOs) being set up by the government with an aim to aid small and marginal farmers to aggregate the produce with the help of better access to technology, input, finance and market.
“We have to see the context of setting up 10,000 FPOs by our government. The FPOs formed as cooperatives should also be facilitated by COOPEXCIL,” he said.
National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) president Dileep Sanghani added that cooperation should be taken up as a movement so that local people are economically empowered to attain the dream of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
Sanjay Agrawal, secretary, Agriculture said that the gains from the first ever India International Cooperatives Trade Fair (IICTF) held in October 2019 need to be fully exploited to benefit the farmers in cooperatives. He suggested a broad based approach to involve all types of cooperatives in exports.
According to government data, around 94 percent of the farmers in India are members of one or more cooperatives. The IICTF aimed to promote cooperative trade within India and abroad while increasing exports of key agricultural commodities, leading to increased incomes for farmers.
Sundeep Nayak, managing director of the NCDC while acknowledging the support of all partners said that the Council would play the role of facilitator for cooperatives to export their products. “The youth targeted program of NCDC, YUVA SAHAKAR will be a key driver,” he added.