The Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) organized the West Bengal Agribusiness Conclave at the CII-Suresh Neotia Centre in Kolkata.
The Conclave was co-hosted by CII and co-sponsored by NIRD, APEDA, Indofil Industries LTD, UCO Bank and Keventer.
Aimed at addressing the challenges faced by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) particularly in the field of market and credit linkages, the conclave followed a series of such regional conclaves around the country, organized by SFAC to address capacity building measures for FPOs and building a sustainable ecosystem for them.
The Conclave in Kolkata saw participation of leaders from both the agricultural, banking and FMCG sector. Multiple sessions were held throughout the day deliberating issues faced by the regional FPOs that were well represented at the conclave.
All stakeholders in the promotion of FPOs, which include Senior State Government Officials, Corporate, Bankers and representatives of FPOs and academics, participated in the event. More than 200 FPCs, 100 Corporate and Banking Officials were present in the above celebrations. A number of FPOs displayed their products and active interaction between FPOs and Corporates took place allowing for greater market linkage of agriculture produce.
The inaugural panel witnessed the presence of Shri Sumanta Chaudhuri, IAS, Managing Director, SFAC; Shri Naveen Prakash, IAS, ACS, Dept of Agriculture, West Bengal; Dr Pradip Majumdar (Guest of Honour), Advisor to CM on Agri and allied sectors, West Bengal; Shri Subrata Mandal, Chief General Manager, NABARD; Shri Amit Saraogi, Chairman, CII ER Agri and Food processing subcommittee and Shri AK Banerjee, Co-Chairman, CII ER Agri and Food processing subcommittee.
Inaugurating the Conclave, Shri Sumanta Chaudhari, Managing Director, SFAC, said “Agri Business is key to ensure the doubling of farmer’s income by 2022”. He emphasized on the changing face of Agriculture in India and how there is a necessity to link market needs to the farmer. He also introduced SFAC’s flagship scheme- ‘Venture Capital Assistance’ (VCA) scheme as a start-up fund to help agri-entrepreneurs.
The Additional Chief Secretary, Shri Naveen Prakash was the Chief Guest at the event and spoke about the plight of farmers because of climate change and its repercussions on the agri-sector. He discussed multiple mitigating strategies the Government is undertaking and how all associated departments are pooling in their resources to fight this problem together.
Shri Sumanta Chaudhari, Managing Director, SFAC and Shri Subrata Mandal, Chief General Manager, NABARD, West Bengal signed a special MoU for comprehensive collaboration in promotion and enhancement of credit linkages for FPOs through NABARD.
Post the inaugural session; Mr Sumanta Chaudhuri moderated a technical session highlighting the opportunities for Agri-Business and credit linkages. The session saw discussions on business opportunities for entrepreneurs in sectors like Animal Husbandry and Fishery, initiatives taken by banking institutions and success stories about the VCA scheme.
Mr Naveen Prakash moderated a session on Market Linkages with Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). Highlights of the session were dialogues on initiatives for capacity building, role of modern trade in developing the farm to fork concept, sourcing of agri-products from FPOs and its aggregation.
Another highlight of the conclave was the special B2B session organized for FPOs and SMEs working in the field of agriculture to interact with leading corporate and retail chains as Spencer’s, Big Basket, Grofers, Aditya Birla, Reliance, ITC, Future Retails, Keventer, Hidustan Unilever, Pepsi, Patanjali etc.