ACF facilitated Farmer Producer Company from
Bathinda, Punjab was awarded the Best FPO Award of the region during the State
Credit Seminar 2023-24 in Chandigarh recently. At the same event, ACF
facilitated SHG Guru Tegh Bahadur was also awarded the Best SHG Award.
NABARD has been ACF's longest and largest partner with over 35 projects being
implemented by ACF since 2008. Projects supported by NABARD include livelihoods
(both agro-based and skill) women empowerment, water resource management and
education. ACF facilitated FPOs and SHGs have been frequent winners of the
award by NABARD.
Through Farmer Producer Companies, ACF helps encourage
farmers to form groups and market their produce collectively. This helps
farmers to avoid middlemen and earn more profits from their produce. ACF
invests in training farmers on latest technologies, practices and environmentally
friendly farming methods – also supporting FPOs to provide farming equipment
and machinery to farmers on rent. Some FPOs have also gone ahead and registered
as a business to value add and sell their products.
Having realized that women have better saving
capacity than men, ACF encourages women to join Self-Help Groups, to instil a
habit of saving and credit to support themselves and their families. The Guru
Tegh Bahadur SHG had started their own business of reviving traditional
handicrafts by making and selling them in the local markets and exhibitions.
ACF provided hand holding support to such groups who want to start their own
business - providing training in business plans, regular recovery and record
keeping and transparency in group operations.
ACF believes in the power of forming People's institutions (like FPOs and SHGs),
as true community development and prosperity comes only if people are empowered
to play a role in helping themselves. In this process, people become responsible
in taking care of their own structures or facilities, inculcate various habits
like savings, and become active in making community decisions – all contributing
to the sustainability of community projects. Apart from Farmer Producer
Companies and Self-Help Groups, ACF helps form Women's Federations, Water Users
Associations, Village Health Functionaries, Watershed Development Committees
and School Management Committees.