Special programme on APCs for 12 tribal districts launched in state

Bhubaneswar, Nov 6: State Government today launched a special programme on promotion of Agriculture Production Clusters (APCs) in the tribal regions of Odisha.

The programmed was launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through video conferencing at the State Secretariat here.

This programme is a joint initiative of the Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Department and Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water Departments for the promotion of APCs in highland regions of the State.

Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF) and Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN), a national level NGO are partners in the scheme.

According to sources, the ongoing schemes with the Directorate of Horticulture, Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM), Odisha Agro Industries Corporation (OAIC), Agricultural Promotion & Investment Corporation of Odisha Limited (APICOL), Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation (OLIC) and other relevant departments will be converged for creation of livelihood infrastructures required for farmers in the regions.

The project is aimed at triggering growth in the farm sector with an objective of sustainability by doubling the income of one lakh small and marginal farmers by establishing APCs in 40 blocks of the 12 tribal dominated districts over a period of four years.

Under the programme, around 150 farmers will be organized into one producer group who will be facilitated to practice synchronized market linked production of identified crops especially horticulture crops covering around 40 acres in a contiguous manner.

About 20-25 producer groups having 3000-5000 farmers will be aggregated to form the APC/Producers Company (PC) at the appropriate level.

A total of 30 producers companies will be promoted in 40 blocks involving around 650 producer groups covering one lakh.

Around 750 market linked agri-entrepreneurs will be groomed and nested as value chain enablers in these regions.

As a sustainable measure, non-pesticidal management (NPM) practices will be introduced in 40 per cent of the areas.

To augment the livelihoods of the farmers, livestock (goat, sheep and backyard poultry) has also been planned with around 40,000 families in these clusters.

 In these regions, market routes and actors around the identified commodities will be developed.

Livelihood assets like irrigation in 16,000 acres, farm mechanization access to 70,000 farmers and shed for goat and backyard poultry with 30,000 farmers will be converged from existing schemes in this project to intensify the interventions.

While BRLF is bringing their partner NGOs to work with BMMU (Block Mission Management Unit) and block-level ATMA (Agricultural Technology Management Project) and DMMU (Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit) and district-level ATMA to support in mobilizing the community, strengthening the producer’s institution and support the departments in implementing these schemes.

It has been decided that the PRADAN as the nodal NGO will coordinate with other NGOs, develop implementation modalities and support the departments in design, management and monitoring of the project.

The total cost of the project is Rs 401.60 crore over three years, of which the share of the OLM will be Rs 70.06 crore for institution and capacity building cost.

 While APICOL will contribute Rs 17.80 crore, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment will provide Rs 293.40 crore through the convergence of the existing programmes, Rs 16.74 crore by BRLF for supporting NG0s and Rs 3.6 crore by the participating NGOs for smooth implementation of the project.

The farmers from 12 district centres witnessed this programme.

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