In order to boost rural entrepreneurship by connecting farmer collectives to market, Foundation for Development of Rural Value Chain (FDRVC) and Innoterra recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at FDRVC office in New Delhi. FDRVC is a section 25 company supported by the Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and Tata Trusts, with the intent of promoting and incubating financially viable farmer collectives. FDRVC focusses on women owned farmer collectives across India and is also a national-level implementing agency of the Government of India’s flagship 10,000 FPO (farmer producer organisations) scheme. Innoterra is a Swiss-Indian food and tech platform company with a footprint in 14 countries, on a mission to transform the food ecosystem to sustainably provide safe, high-quality, healthy food products to global consumers.
As part of this partnership, Innoterra will provide FDRVC-promoted FPOs with verifiable traceability, food safety, packaging and branding capabilities, along with marketing linkages as part of Innoterra’s platform offering. So far, FDRVC supports farmer producer companies (FPCs) in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand, working on oilseeds, little millets, spices and pulses.
As a pilot for this partnership, Innoterra will work with Baiga Chak Mahila Kisan Utpadak Producer Company, Dindori. The FPC is funded by Madhya Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission (MPSRLM) and MoRD under the World Bank-funded National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP). Baiga Chak MKUPCL is working on pulses and small millet value chains.
Innoterra will provide a platform for the farmer collectives and FPCs to showcase their produce on its marketplace and benefit from the economies of scale and synergies provided by the company’s vast, integrated ecosystem of services including quality inputs, commercial support, farm advisory and management tools, affordable financing and skill-building. Innoterra’s technological expertise and FDRVC’s extensive network of farmer collectives will now offer rural communities a tangible way to combine the best of the brick-and-mortar world with digital enablement to maximise value for their products.
Highlighting the formalisation of the partnership, Nitin Puri, Head, Platforms & B2B Marketplace, Innoterra said: “The collaboration with FDRVC is a great step, cementing our effort to build entrepreneurship in rural communities across India. This initiative will democratise access to markets for packaged food enterprises in rural areas. When you contextualise this with the fact that 70 percent of rural households primarily depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood, the vast, unlocked potential of the sector is clearly palpable.”
Speaking on the development, Alok De, CEO, Foundation for Development of Rural Value Chain said: “One of the key objectives of FDRVC has been to enable market linkages for the produce of small and marginal farmers. The partnership with Innoterra, which is building a comprehensive platform linking the food ecosystem, will allow us to do that at scale. Buoyed by favourable policies like PLI and infra development packages, we believe Agri services in India are at an inflection point. Our aim will be to seamlessly integrate fragmented production of high-potential farm products, such as millets, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and more, into a structured ecosystem where the producers can access all the benefits of formalisation and scale, through trusted partners such as Innoterra.”
The MoU has been initially signed for two years with an option to automatically renew for two more years.