Nafed to launch 10,000 honey farmer collectives

The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited. (Nafed) has launched the `Honey FPO Programme’- a collective that brings together  farmers engaged in beekeeping from across the country.

Announcing the launch of the Honey FPO Programme, minister of agriculture and farmers’ welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said, “Beekeeping in India is highly predominant in the unorganised sector among  the rural and tribal population. Despite having a huge potential of honey production in the country, the beekeeping industry is still underdeveloped. The adoption level of beekeeping is also quite less due to various constraints. Nafed will address these issues by acting as an intermediary and filling up the gaps between the elements of the beekeeping supply chain and also ensure remunerative price to farmers.”
Nafed, he said, will also work for promotion of beekeeping as an occupation for unemployed women and tribal populations and uplift their livelihood”.  Tomar also said that honey beekeeping will change the lifestyle of small and marginal farmers and help in achieving the goal of increasing farmer’s income. 
The centre is promoting the creation of FPOs in view of their significant role in fulfilling the mission of implementing agricultural reforms in the country. Promotion and formation of FPOs is the first step for converting farming into self-sustaining `Atmanirbhar’ farming. 
The new central sector scheme aims at creation of 10,000 FPOs of beekeeping farmers.
 Under the new FPO scheme, so far the national level project management advisory and fund sanctioning committee (N-PMAFSC) had allocated 2,200 FPO clusters for 2020-21 to all implementing agencies. 
N-PMAFSC allocated 500 FPOs to SFAC, 600 FPOs to Nabard, 500 FPOs to NCDC, 100 FPOs to Watershed Development Department of Karnataka, 50 FPOs to SFAC-Haryana, 50 FPOs to Tamil Nadu SFAC, 50 FPOs to North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Ltd (NERAMAC), 100 FPOs to NRLM division of MoRD for the current fiscal (2020-21). 
Additionally specialised FPOs will be formed, including 100 Organic FPOs by INM, DAC&FW, 100 Oilseed FPOs by DAC&FW and 50 commodity specific FPOs by Nafed with value chain development.
Implementing agencies had also identified the block wise clusters. FPOs will be developed by specialist 'Cluster Based Business Organisations (CBBOs)’ engaged by implementing agencies. Nafed had already empanelled the CBBOs and other IAs are in the process of empanelment of CBBOs.
Nafed has been appointed as the fourth National Implementing Agency other than SFAC, Nabard and NCDC for the creation of 10,000 FPOs by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW). Nafe has recently taken over the national level Federation of Indian FPOs and aggregators (FIFA) with the aim of creating sustainable small holder institutions to enhance collective capacities, shortening of agri produce value chains for equitable returns to all stakeholders and leveraging technology for enhanced transparency, scale and seamless agri. produce trading. 
Creation of Honey FPOs is one of the thrust areas of FIFA’s business plan.
Nafed, through its empanelled Cluster Based Business Organisation (CBBO) Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP) has initiated the formation and promotion of FPOs of beekeepers and honey collectors in 5 states of India. The areas covered under the programme are Sundarbans in West Bengal, East Champaran in Bihar, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, Morena in Madhya Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan. 
The First Honey FPO,  Chambal FED Shahad Utpadak Sahakari Samiti, in the state of Madhya Pradesh under National Beekeeping & Honey Mission was registered on 11 November 2020 under the Cooperatives Act.  The FPO will cover 5 blocks consisting of about 68 villages in Morena district of the state. The other four  FPOs in the state of Bihar, Rajasthan Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal shall cover 340 villages in these states. Through these 5 FPOs, 4,000-5,000 beekeepers / honey collectors would be benefited directly.
The Honey FPOs made by ISAP under the aegis of National Bee Board (NBB) and Nafed will help its members in not only upgrading their skills in scientific bee keeping but will also help in making its members set up state-of-the-art infrastructural facilities for processing honey and allied beekeeping products like bee’s wax, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom, etc, quality control laboratories, collection, storage, bottling and marketing centres. These FPOs will benefit by the schemes of Mini Mission-1 and Mini Mission-2 of National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) of National Bee Board. The beekeepers/honey collectors of all the 5 states would be helped in branding and collective marketing of their honey and other allied products of bee keeping through the marketing channels of Nafed. Efforts will also be made to explore the overseas market for improving the returns to the bee keepers and honey collectors.