Dharani FaM CooP ltd., is producer owned enterprise. It was registered under the mutually aided cooperative societies act of A.P. in April 2008. Its members are from four drought prone mandals of Anantapuramu district of Andhra Pradesh.
All 1,632 members of Dharani are small holder organic farmers and own around 8,500 acres of land. Around 70% of their lands are rain-fed and the remaining are irrigated by bore wells or open wells. Due to repeated spells of drought the water table here has gone down tremendously making farming a difficult occupation. To mitigate these conditions, Dharani encourages its members to grow millets, which are less water intensive compared to other cash crops. To incentivise the farmers growing millets, Dharani fixes the prices at the beginning of the season assuring to pay the millet growing members 20-50% higher prices than the existing market prices. Dharani also assures the procurement of the entire marketable surplus produce from the farmers, as long as quality norms are adhered to, thereby ensuring a reliable market to the farmers. With directed efforts of Dharani, millet share in the total procurement has become equal to that of groundnut during last financial year.
Working capital requirements for Dharani are particularly high during the months of December through March since more than 50% of the total procurement happens during this period. Dharani also assures farmers of payment within seven days of procurement and this necessitates the availability of liquid cash in large sums. The cooperative had taken a loan of Rs. 50 lakhs from Rang De last year and is currently paying the loan amount. Apart from procuring more than 100 tonnes of millets, the cooperative also generated nearly 4500 work days for men and women of C K Palli village.
To meet the current year's capital requirement Dharani has applied for a Rang De loan of Rs. 10 lakhs that will be disbursed in between the months of December-February to the cooperative. The cooperative will utilise the amount to purchase food products, process and market them and also manage wage repayments. The loan tenure will be 30 months with 6 months moratorium.
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