Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is an Autonomous Society promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI in 1994.
SFAC has implemented the central schemes of the Government of India namely Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) and Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme (EGCGS) for the economic inclusion of small and marginal farmers in agribusiness activities.
Given below are a few important aspects of SFAC which one must be familiar with:
|SFAC Full Form||Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium|
|Established in||January 18, 1994|
|Nodal Ministry||Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare|
|Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (as of March 2021)||Narendra Singh Tomar|
In this article, we shall discuss at length the objectives of the Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium along with its significance. This topic is also important from the IAS Exam perspective.
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About Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium
- SFAC is an exclusive Society focused on increasing incomes of small and marginal farmers through aggregation and development of agribusiness
- It is governed by a Board of Management chaired by the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare as the President and the Secretary Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare is the Vice President
- It has also been contributing to improve the availability of working capital and the development of business activities by initiating multiple schemes
- SFAC’s mission is to link small farmers to technology as well as to the markets in association with the private, corporate or cooperative sector and if necessary, by providing, both, backward and forward linkages
- Apart from working at the Central level, State level SFAC has also been set up under the Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme of SFAC
- It has also been allotted the work of implementation of the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Electronic Trading platform
- Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium is also responsible for helping the formation and growth of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and improving the availability of working capital and development of business activities of FPOs through the Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme (EGCGS)
Objectives of SFAC
Given below are the key objectives of establishing SFAC:
- To catalyse agro-industrial growth in the country based on the principles of:
- Ecological sustainability
- Economic efficiency
- Social equity
- To assist in undertaking programs for employment generation, growth and diversification of agriculture and agro-based industries to increase food production and export of agriculture products
- It also promotes post-harvest manufacturing units in public and private sectors
- To influence Government policies for agriculture
- To prepare, print and publish papers, periodicals, monographs in furtherance of the objectives of the society
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Significance of SFAC
Apart from fulfilling the objectives with which the Consortium has been established, there are multiple other functions that are performed by SFAC which make it an important functioning body for the Government of India.
SFAC is endowed with the task of implementation of National Agriculture Market by setting up an appropriate common e-market platform through a private partnership that would be deployable in selected regulated wholesale markets in State/wholesale markets in States/Union Territories (UT) desirous of joining the e-platform.
Schemes Implemented by SFAC
- Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme
- Venture Capital Assistance is financial support in the form of an interest-free loan provided by SFAC to qualifying projects to meet the shortfall in the capital requirement for the implementation of the project.
- The main objective of the scheme is to facilitate the setting up of agribusiness ventures in close association with all Notified Financial Institutions notified by the Reserve Bank of India where the ownership of the Central/State Government is more than 50% such as Nationalized banks, SBI & its subsidiaries, etc.
To know what is Venture Capital and its different types, visit the linked article.
- Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme
- Equity Grant Scheme extends support to the equity base of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs)
- Its key objectives include enhancing the viability and sustainability of FPCs, increasing credit worthiness and enhancing the shareholding of members to increase their ownership and participation in FPCs
Also, the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform was launched in April 2016 and the Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) was set up with the assistance of SFAC apart from the other important schemes.
In June 2020, amid the Covid pandemic in the country, SFAC launched the Kisan Rath App with the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture which lessened the problem of transport of farm produce during the lockdown.
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