Indian Institute of Technology Mandi along with the Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK) Society of IIT Mandi, have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development (NABARD) on 22nd February 2020 for collaboration on setting up Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. The MoA was signed by Dr. Venkata Krishnan, Dean Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC), IIT Mandi; Ms. Sandhya Menon, Secretary, EWOK Society; and Mr. Nilay Kapoor, Chief General Manager, NABARD.
Speaking about the collaboration, Dr. Venkata Krishnan, Dean Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC), IIT Mandi, said,“IIT Mandi is pleased to have this collaboration with NABARD. With the recent MoA signed, IIT Mandi and EWOK society will be able to connect and help the community at large in Himachal Pradesh”.
Expressing his views on this collaboration, Mr. Nilay Kapoor, Chief General Manager, NABARD, said,“NABARD, Himachal Pradesh Regional Office is delighted to sanction three Farmer Producer Organizations to EWOK and IIT, Mandi. This marks a new beginning for collaboration with prestigious institutes like IIT, Mandi. The Regional Office proposes to sign a tri-partite agreement involving NABARD, EWOK and IIT, Mandi for developing farmer-friendly equipments. In addition, opportunities will be explored for collaboration in areas like Internet of Things in Agriculture, Watershed, Rural Mart etc. I am sure, our collaboration will go a long way in solving the problems of farmers of the State and achieving the dream of Doubling of Farmers’ Income”.
The MoA signed by the 3 organisations is a result of the brainstorming meetings held between December 2019 and February 2020 to identify the key areas related to farm and non-farm sectors in Himachal Pradesh. As a result, NABARD has sanctioned an amount of Rs. 35 lakhs to IIT Mandi and EWOK Society to promote and setup 3 Farmer Producer Organisations in a period of next 3 years. For this, the Institute and the Society will be involved in the following activities:
- To identify clusters for setting up the FPOs
- To create awareness among farmers
- To establish and register the FPOs
- To train the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors of the FPOs
- To prepare the business development plan
- To organise capacity building programme
- To assist FPOs in raising credit/ bank loans
IIT Mandi and EWOK Society share a common vision of helping the society at large by exchanging knowledge and expertise. Apart from setting up the FPOs, other potential areas of collaboration in which the Institute will provide its expertise includes tourism, rural marts run by Self-Help Groups (SHGs), engineering solutions for farm-friendly equipments, research on the impact of climate change on agri incomes, among others.