January 29, 2021
Speaking at a press conference at the Coimbatore Press Club, Isha Outreach Coordinator Venkatrasa told reporters: “Under Sadhguru’s guidance, in the next few years, we will transform Velliangiri Farmer Producer Organisation into India’s leading FPO.”
Isha Outreach is the Resource Institute for the FPO, which recently won one of the most prestigious state awards. The FPO was formed under the guidance of Sadhguru, Founder-Isha Foundation.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi Palaniswami presented the ‘Best Performing Farmer Producer Company- Governance’ award to the Velliangiri Uzhavan in Coimbatore at the Republic Day celebrations.
Venkatrasa said, “We consider the award given by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on the occasion of the Republic Day as the greatest encouragement given to our farmers.” He noted that the eight-year-old organization has demonstrated remarkable growth.
“(As many as) 1,063 farmers are members of Velliangiri Uzhavan. Of these, 70 percent are small and marginal farmers and 38 percent are women farmers,” he observed.
Venkatrasa said that the FPO has transformed the lives of farmers in the Thondamuthur area and spoke of its meteoric rise since its inception in 2013. “Initially, the FPO was earning an annual turnover of Rs 45,000. It has now grown to a revenue of Rs 12 crore,” he said.
He listed the several benefits for farmers, noting that the FPO has proved to be a one-stop solution for several farming challenges. “It is enough if the farmers grow the produce. The company takes care of all the work from harvesting to marketing and payment into the farmers’ bank accounts,” he explained, highlighting the end-to-end streamlined services that the FPO offers its members.
Kumar, Chairman of Velliangiri Uzhavan said, “We started this company with the aim of ensuring that farmers get profitable prices for their produce. Through this company, we are selling coconut, areca nut and vegetables directly to the consumers. This has eliminated several challenges and increased revenue for farmers of Thondamuthur.”
He said one of the biggest benefits is the uniformity in rates regardless of farmholding. “The company has made it possible for everyone to get the same price, regardless of whether they are small or large farmers. In addition to direct sales, we carry out various activities such as providing fertilizer to farmers at subsidised rates, setting up drip irrigation to overcome water scarcity and assisting farmers to avail and benefit from government welfare projects for farmers,” said Kumar, elaborating on the social and developmental services offered by the FPO.
The FPO recently shipped a consignment of vegetables overseas for the first time. “In the first phase, we exported five tonnes of 15 varieties of vegetables to Qatar. We are also working to gradually increase this,” said Kumar.
Velumani, Kishore Kumar, Sarathamani, Valluvan, Kanakaraj and Myilsami, who are farmers and the directors of the FPO, were also present during the press conference.
Sadhguru congratulated the FPO on the award from the Government of Tamil Nadu. “A praiseworthy display of commitment to sustainable agriculture, food security and economic growth. Congratulations to #VelliangiriUzhavan FPO on your remarkable performance and to #IshaOutreach on your indispensable guidance,” he said on his Twitter handle.