A pineapple field in Diyun

Tinsukia: Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) – an umbrella organization with over 250 farmers under its belt in Arunachal’s Changlang district has sold 10,500 pineapples in the last three days, scripting a small success story from one of the remotest region of the country.

The development came at a time when the entire country is struggling to cope up with surge in the number of Covid-19 cases day after day. Even, Changlang has the second highest number of cases in Arunachal Pradesh standing at 91 with 54 active cases.

Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu took to Twitter and said: “A step towards #AatmaNirbharBharat. Well done @Devansh_IAS Deputy Commissioner Changlang District.”

Talking to EastMojo, deputy commissioner of Changlang, Devansh Yadav, said that under the aegis of National Bank For Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), a FPO was created in January 2020, to cater to demands of local farmers and link them to bigger markets to realize better price for their produces. “In past 3 days over 10,500 pieces of pineapples have been sold by farmers of the district through the FPO.”

“Another lot of 20,000 pieces are ready to be harvested in the coming week,” Yadav added.

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Harvested pineapples

Changlang has huge production of high quality pineapples in every monsoon season. Yadav said, “Hence, we planned things in three stages in this direction. First, creation of FPO followed by market linkage – both successful. Now, we are eyeing at a Pineapple jam unit by year end.”

Yadav tweeted: Step1: First Farmer producer Organization #FPO in #Changlang- done

Step 2: Market linkage-Done

(Sold 10000 pineapples in last 3 days)

20K next week!!

Supported by @NABARDOnline @iagarwalsourabh

Step 3: Pineapple Jam unit- by end of this year!!”

“Earlier, middlemen used to take pineapple pieces from farmers, and supply them locally or to markets in Assam,” Yadav said, adding: Sudden spurt in Covid cases locally and in Assam’s Tinsukia and Dibrugarh led farmers into a situation of uncertainty about this season’s pineapple harvest.

“Here’s where the role of FPO came in. They helped the farmers to link with big market and sell their produces,” Yadav, highlighting the importance of FPO, said.

Yadav added, “The pineapples has been sold at Rs 16 per piece out of which Rs 2 is set aside for transportation and investment in infrastructure. Farmers got Rs 14 for each pineapple. Rates mutually agreed between bulk buyers and FPO, and are dynamic as per prevailing market rates.”

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Pineapples ready for shipment.

Pineapple is a seasonal fruit cultivated and harvested June and July.

Mukut Hajong, a farmer from Madhupur number 1 village, told this correspondent, that, he has sold 2,000 pineapples to FPO. “This is my first deal through FPO,” he added.

FPO CEO Sushil Nanak with a pineapple farmer

“Though not much of a difference in pricing part, the benefits, as I can count, are multiple. Firstly, FPO purchased pineapples in bulk quantity which negated the problem of storage. Secondly, unlike in precious dealing through middleman, I and other villagers received payment in a day’s time.”

The middleman used to pay us in 7 to 10 day’s time, Hajong said, adding: Initially during season 1, the month of June when yield is low, the middleman used to pay us Rs 15 per piece.

“As we enter season 2 – the month of July which witnesses bumper production in the first 3 weeks – the prices drop as low as Rs 10 per piece,” he said.

“We request the FPO to keep the price static and make purchases every third day else we have to shift to middleman to sell the produce as we cannot stock for long,” added Hajong.

The pineapples are sold somewhere between Rs 40 to 60 per piece in Tinsukia, the nearest biggest market for Changlang.

FPO team ready with pineapples loaded in vehicles for transportation to market

The CEO of FPO (Diyun circle) Sushil Nanak said, in a short period of time, 220 farmers from over 10 villages under Diyun circle registered with them and earned benefits.

“We provide them help in prouduction and marketing,” said Nanak and added “We arranged transportation of pineapples from farmers to the buyers, and pay them the proceeds, after deducting Rs 2 for transportation and investment in infrastructure.”

Nanak said, we are planning to open up Common Facility Centre (CFC) at each village besides an online portal to get the farmers linked to global market.

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