Kalol, Nov 3: Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) on Friday celebrated its 50th year at its Kalol plant, which was its first nutrient manufacturing facility. IFFCO during the celebration pledged to work towards empowering farmers and enhancing their income.Also Read - Russia Ukraine War: PM Modi Speaks With Putin; Bats For Dialogue

Over 1,200 cooperative members from the country and invited guests from overseas gathered at Kalol near Ahmedabad which houses urea unit. Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Lavishes Praise On Mithali Raj, Says Cricketer Is An 'Inspiration' To Many

IFFCO also conferred the annual Sahakarita awards to honour the eminent co-operators for their contribution to the growing and evolving Indian cooperative movement. Jyotindrabhai M Mehta was presented the Sahakarita Ratna Award and Ramesh Vaidya was presented with the Sahakarita Bandhu Award. Also Read - 'Bavarian Band, Indian Diaspora': PM Modi Receives Warm Welcome In Germany Ahead Of G7 Summit | Watch

Speaking to a gathering of over 5000 people who gathered to mark the occasion, Dr Uday Shankar Awasthi, IFFCO’s chairman said,”I’ve traversed 135,000 kilometres this year and met over 2 lakh farmers at 125 venues across India to understand their needs so that we can serve them better. Our journey begins here. We’re committed to bridging ‘Digital India’ with ‘Digital Bharat’.”

Reiterating IFFCO’s futuristic vision, he said, “We must remain technologically agile. We’ve set our sights on the skies, our feet are firmly planted on the ground and our hearts remain with the farmers, we will continue to scale new heights.”

In a letter to U S Awasthi on its golden jubilee year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged IFFCO’s contribution towards the growth of cooperative sector in the country.

The Prime Minister praised IFFCO’s efforts towards digitization in agriculture, cashless transactions, training farmers for optimum use of fertilisers and farming technology which will be helpful in achieving his target of doubling farmers’ income by year 2022.

The people at the event also enjoyed the performances of Shiamak Davar’s dance troupe and singers Rahul Vaidya, of Indian Idol fame and Bollywood singer Neeti Mohan.

Watch: Singer Neeti Mohan’s performance at IFFCO’s 50th Anniversary

IFFCO, the world’s largest fertiliser cooperative, has five plants in India and three overseas. During last fiscal, the cooperative posted a turnover of Rs 22,500 crore, while produced 85 lakh tonnes and sold 110 lakh tonnes of fertilisers.

IFFCO chairman Balwinder Singh Nakai said: “In 1967, we started with 57 cooperatives, and today with over 36,000 Indian Cooperatives, we are a force to reckon with, touching lives of over five crore farmers and continuously working towards building a better world for them.” IFFCO is truly an organization of the farmers, by the farmers and for the farmers, he added.

On its 50th year, it conducted training programmes for farmers at 125 locations across the country.

“We have initiated a 24×7 call-centre that caters to India s varied farming groups in 12 Indian languages, eliminating the language barrier for their free communication,” the IFFCO managing director said.

IFFCO has introduced yet another platform for the farmers and their families called IFFCOYUVA . This is a platform especially for farmers children and it provides them with the opportunity to acquire necessary skills and educates them, and get a platform to connect job seekers with job providers.

It has also initiated rural health program in collaboration with a Start Up called Gramin Health to ensure that health, wealth, and education for farmers and their families.

Apart from its core fertiliser business, IFFCO is engaged in general insurance to rural telecom and rural retail businesses.

Guest from Fertiliser Association of India (FAI), International Fertiliser Association (IFA), International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and eminent personalities like Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Eisuke Shiozaki, Chairman & Managing Director, Mitsubishi Corporation India, Tsuyoshi Nagano, President & Group CEO, Tokio Marine Holdings and Ariel Guarco (ICA) were also present during the Golden Jubilee celebrations.