Kartik: Now coming to Arindam and then Shantanu you know, of course, Arindam There’s so much amazing work that and, your institution, have been doing in financial enablement, specifically in agriculture. And I think what’s kind of agriculture is deeply impactful, emotive, a relevant issue both from a farmer’s income and farmers dignity, perspective. And we all know what’s happening in the news and from national security. I can put it that way. Food security, national welfare perspective. There are so many issues there, So you work on that issue and financial enablement, and it’s backed by banks in many cases, and you’re focusing on debt access right? And some of the issues that Karan has mentioned about the mingling of funds and harboring money in. Could you us give a lay of the land Because I think you guys have done and agri is very cutting edge. It may be very useful for people to receive it. Understand what all things you guys are doing And what do you see as the key challenges currently and where CSR money and CSR thinking can be helpful.
Arindam: Lot of work is going on in India and in the other emerging economies was done by the social sector by the government or organizations like the World Bank, GDP on the building of enterprises collective or in strengthening the education health system. One of the key constraints across sectors unless you have access to finance most of these initiatives, enterprises business are not going to take off in spite of all the hand-holding that you do. So access to finance is a necessary condition for economic development.
Second is if we talk about the SDG 17 That’s extremely critical. Collaboration across sectors I’m talking of the public sector, the private sector and the development sector is critical. It’s not easy. I’ll give you a couple of examples. It’s not easy, but till that happens and that’s where blended kinds of instruments kick in.
It’s going to be a challenge to achieve the other 16 SDG’s So what? What is it that we do?
About 6-7 years back, that discussion we are having now we have the discussion internally as to how we could create a blended financial solution for access to finance to the underserved, say it meant within the F&A food and agribusiness supply chain farmers and their collectives, and that it was a struggles to get the right kind of legal compliance structured in place in India because of the reasons that Karan mentioned. So what we did was we mobilized funding noncommercial funding of show. We contributed, and there were other organizations that contributed, and we issued a guarantee to Indian financial institution, one institution to be able to provide that financing to a farmer of cooperative. It was an organic cotton cooperative
Now, since then the learning has been huge. If that was the starting point for us and since then we have been running 14 blended finance instruments for farmer producer organizations for Actec for AcfinTek all to ensure access to finance for small owner farmers and each one of them is unique. And we have about 14 financial institutions in India which include NBSC’s mainstream regulated banks and the so-called impact funds who are fronting all these transactions of what we do with we syndicate, a non-commercial capital of show and the issue of guarantee through Rabobank to these financial institutions. For well-defined NGOs.
I just give you two examples.
One is the first of its kind prime it smart agriculture guarantee programmes that we are running. So what we did was we provided a first loss and USA they provided a pary parso guarantee to two Indian financial institutions and even that was the struggles because of actually understanding that demand at the ground level what is quasi bankable? It was a ten year program. Programs for financial institutions could take a long call because climate programs in, as we mentioned the returns, they take their own time. But you know, estimating the demand was a huge issue because there are so many organisations working on the demand side. But they didn’t have the experience of the expertise on financial and business, you know, aspects. And when we did our due diligence, we found that
- Most of them were not really bankable. And while they’re just social structures that were set up,
- A second was very few financial institutions were willing to front the transactions because they found it to be too complicated.
- There were a lot of reporting requirements, so we have set this up. It’s running in the Indian market. That’s one example
The second example. We have 14 such. We are going to launch it next month. It’s a COVID response fund for every transition which has agri induced, which includes foot loss, clean energy to the agriculture sector, the SPLs, and technology which is near the farmers. So what we did. We syndicated our first loss again of the show we got global, most of the European foundations, to pull in the first lot and we got DFC. That’s the Development Finance Corporation. That’s the guarantee arm of the government of us to the front of transaction. So it’s $55 million. It’s not small a program that is going to be fronted by three and NPFCs these are impact funds in India and show that these are the kind of transactions we do.