In the state of Himachal Pradesh, in the small town of Rohru, we have been accompanying the Chuwara Valley Apple Association (CVA) over several years. CVA is an association with around 1,000 members. In providing a service to its members, its main tasks are to advise on growing crops and to improve packaging techniques and transport options for apples. While accompanying them in their evolution as an organisation together with AHA trainer Purvi Shah-Paulini, it emerged at the end of 2021 that CVA would like to pursue an entrepreneurial path in addition to its traditional association work. Spurred on by the Indian Government’s intense drive to have 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) founded, CVA also decided to found an FPO. An FPO is an association for producers, bringing together farmers who are the main producers of an agricultural or industrial product.
In order to start this process while being as well prepared as possible, the CVA Board first embarked on a trip to Southern India in spring 2022 to spend a week exchanging ideas and gaining inspiration from founders of successful FPOs. In the following months, the first product to be sold was developed and all the necessary formalities were initiated together with Naveen Kumar, an expert on founding FPOs provided by the AHA. However, it also became apparent that the hurdles faced are similar to those here in Germany. After all, the formal founding of a company alongside an association is one thing; successful implementation of both organisations coexisting with one another is something quite different. CVA and the AHA are currently working intensively on organisational development. Central to this are questions such as “Are FPO members automatically members of the association?” “Who is responsible for what exactly?” “How are structures and processes of both organisations connected and where should this be avoided?” “How much money should/may flow from company profits to the association and what services can be developed from this?”
To continue working on these issues, the AHA and CVA have scheduled a large expert workshop for early April. Experts from agriculture and entrepreneurship in India are invited, who, drawing on their experience, can support the young CVA business in an advisory capacity. Together, we are striving to create a stable foundation that will guarantee the success of the new company by the end of our collaboration in December 2023.