APART launches competitive fund Xamahar to boost Assam’s agri-business sector

To support and strengthen the financing ecosystem or mechanisms in the agricultural domain of the state, Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART) has established the first of its kind initiative, the Assam AgriFin “Xamahar”.

This fund has been conceptualised by APART, a World Bank-financed project of the Assam government.

Xamahar 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.

The aim of this initiative is to partner with select 8 to 12 sub-projects from the financial services sector directly benefitting 125,000 beneficiaries of which 30 percent will be women.

It was officially launched by Assam agriculture minister Atul Bora. Speaking at the occasion, Atul Bora said, “The initiative taken by APART for the farmers is appreciable. Hope the farmer able to provide a commercial look of their farming work with this. As compared to the other states, Assam still lacking behind 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,” he added.

The main objective to officially launch “Xamahar” is to seek proposals from service providers like banks, MFIs, value chain financers, insurance companies and payments service providers from the financial services sector, to apply to the fund. The four priority areas identified for innovations are- savings, which include access to long-term savings/micro pensions; digitization of agriculture payments; insurance in terms of crop, livestock, life, and other perils and credit lines for production and investment.

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