GUWAHATI, Dec 9: To support and strengthen the financing ecosystems in the agricultural domain of Assam, APART has established the first of its kind initiative, the Assam AgriFin ‘Xamahar’. It is a competitive funding mechanism for supporting innovative approaches to deliver financial services, at a scale in the agribusiness sector in the state of Assam.
This fund has been conceptualised by the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART), a World Bank-financed project of the Assam government under the ARIAS Society.
Through this initiative, the project intends to partner with select 8 to 12 sub-projects from the financial services sector directly benefitting 1.25 lakh beneficiaries of which 30% will be women. Notably, Xamahar was officially launched on Thursday, at a function held at the College of Veterinary Sciences, Guwahati by Atul Bora, minister, Agriculture, government of Assam in the presence of Dr Ashish Kumar Bhutani, IAS, state project director, ARIAS Society.
Speaking at the occasion, Bora said, “The initiative taken by APART for the farmers is appreciable. Hope the farmer can provide a commercial look of their farming work with this. As compared to the other states, Assam is still lacking in farming. We have to work very hard to develop this sector. The government has already earmarked Rs 200 crore in the budget to strengthen the marketing and collection process of agricultural produce.”
Further, the primary objective of the fund is to support testing of innovations and upscaling of tested innovations by financial service providers (banks, MFIs, value chain financiers, insurance companies, and payments service providers) that in turn will help to increase access in terms of financial services for beneficiaries in the agri-business sector.