Mumbai, 17 May, 2022: The Maharashtra government and the World Bank have launched ‘SMART Agtech Integration Facility 2022’ to bring disruptive agricultural technologies (DATs) to community-based organisations (CBOs) engaged in agriculture, according to a press release. This is part of a $300 million project named after Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray to enable farmer collectives and smallholders to participate in competitive agricultural value chains, facilitate agri-business investments, increase market access and productivity, and build resilience in crops to recurrent floods and droughts. The project also facilitates the adoption of DATs by CBOs.
Smallholder farmers face many challenges. Though CBOs such as farmer producer companies (FPCs) and primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) play a significant role in helping farmers get access to finance, inputs, technologies and markets, technological limitations affect their ability to increase productivity, efficiency and competitiveness of farming operations.
The SMART agtech facility is supported by a grant from the Korea World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF), a collaboration between Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MoEF) and the World Bank. This is the first KWPF initiative in India. Intellecap, a provider of consulting, research and investment banking services to multilateral agencies, development finance institutions, social enterprises, corporations and donors is supporting the execution of the grant.
The SMART agtech facility is seeking support from DAT solution providers specifically for (1) implementing digitisation solutions for farmer collectives, (2) building value chain actor aggregation platforms, (3) enabling precision agriculture and automation services, (4) working with urban food systems and logistics solutions, (5) developing market linkage and traceability solutions, and (6) facilitating access to financial services.