Strengthening of FPOs
The economy of North Eastern states like India in general is predominantly agrarian. Thus, alongside its work on community mobilization through women collectives in the form of SHGs, SeSTA has also started enhancing its efforts to work for the development of Farmers Collective, mainly by working on formation, promotion as well as strengthening of the Farmers Producer Organization (FPO).
FPOs objective is to strengthen backward and forward linkages across value chains for agricultural and fish products, along with ensuring remunerative prices to the producers / farmers. Albeit, there are many already established FPOs (since years) and having huge membership as well in the North East states. However, at the moment many of these running FPOs have become stagnant and rather defunct and hence the desired outcomes are not reached in spite of having an established structure to some extent. SeSTA is now working towards revamping some of these FPOs by taking them under its wing and ensuring handholding support to these FPOs for them to adopt modern and systematic standards of management to achieve growth as well as sustenance.
SeSTA’s major focus area being planning and working on business model of the FPO, leveraging finance, assistance in providing functional linkages, FPO’s governance, inculcating effective training in accounts and management, etc. Another critical aspect where SeSTA from its expertise of working with women collectives can intervene is inclusion of female members in the FPOs. Currently the membership and the governance of the FPOs is predominantly male dominated.
SeSTA basically supports these FPOs by:
- Strengthening their Governing body through training and exposure
- Income enhancement of significant number of families by providing technical support for livelihood enhancement,
- Promoting organic and sustainable cultivation
- Diversification to other products and services like crop insurance, farm mechanization
- Increasing the membership base as well as mobilizing women SHG members into the FPOs
- Assistance in providing small working capital to each FPO,
- Leveraging finances from Banks, NABARD, SFAC,
- Linkages with other FPOs, traders and marketing institutions
Engagement with Youth
Against the back-drop of increasing poverty, slow pace of economic development and very high rate of population growth, the unemployment problem has assumed chronic and complex character in Assam. The problem has further been accentuated with the increase in the number of unemployed technical personnel in the State. In the coming 5 years, SeSTA plans to work with 5000 unemployed youths by helping them find gainful employment.
Creating Employment Opportunities by Skilling Youth
Against the back-drop of increasing poverty, slow pace of economic development and very high rate of population growth, the unemployment problem has assumed chronic and complex character in Assam. The problem has further been accentuated with the increase in the number of unemployed technical personnel in the State. Notwithstanding efforts made through successive State plans for generation greater employment potential, the gap between gainful employment opportunities and fast growing labour force has continued to widen. Further, the incidence of unemployment is more pronounced in the rural areas since it is characterised by under-employment or seasonal unemployment.
- Poor income from the agriculture sector due to lack of modern implements and techniques, the younger generation does not consider it a remunerative livelihood option
- Inability to pursue higher education due to deficit of required potential and conducive environment
- Activity: Providing scientific understanding of an activity and economical sustainability
- Lack of proper skill set to meet the demands of the industrial sector
- No awareness about the opportunities due to lack of guidance and information
- Lack of placement assistance
SeSTA conducted a study on Building a perspective on the Youth in the context of the prevailing situation in Bongaigaon and Chirang districts of Assam. Based on the understanding of this study, SeSTA is engaging with youths of Chirang and Bongaigaon by:
- Training a group of youths in Improved Agriculture so as to restore faith in the youth that agriculture could be one remunerative livelihood option
- Training girls on sewing, knitting, embroidery
- Training a cadre of youths as para vets with on- job assistance from experienced Veterinary Practitioners coupled with in-house trainings
- Imparting computer education
Experience of SeSTA
Youths are keen to acquire skills which can provide them employment / income enhancement opportunity. They are ready to pay for the training/ skill enhancement programme if it can provide them employment or enhance their income.
- The youths, particularly girls and women, from SHG families are interested to acquire skills and knowledge in sewing, knitting and embroidery as it would provide them an opportunity to earn income from home. So the training center under CYA will be continued and it will be further linked with nearby market opportunities like whole seller cloth merchant, schools for uniform etc. Focus will be also on assisting these youths to access institutional credit for working capital and buying sewing machines etc from Banks and govt schemes like Prime Minister’s Rural Employment Generation Programme.
- It is also strongly felt that rural youths are lacking information related to available job opportunities in various sectors (govt, private, NGOS etc). So the centre will be equipped to cater to the information need of the rural youths relate to job/ employment opportunities. Also, the centre will be equipped with set of computers to impart basic computer course to rural youths at reasonable cost so that it can enhance chances of their employability. Efforts are in progress also to ensure credibility of this course by getting accreditation from recognized institutions.