Lawrencedale Agro Processing (LEAF), an Ooty-based full-stack agriculture technology services major, has entered into strategic partnership with agriculture-focused IFFCO Kisan Finance, to enable the much-needed organised financial services to marginalised farmers. IFFCO Kisan Finance is a non-banking finance company (NBFC), promoted by Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO), a leading player in the agriculture inputs sector.
Access to institutional and structured financial services is among the key gaps which the Indian agriculture sector is facing. As a result of dependence on the unorganised and prohibitively high cost of finance, the Indian farmers are regularly in a debt trap for the majority of their lives.
LEAF and IFFCO Kisan Finance will be enabling and driving positive social impact through innovative and affordable financial services, by introducing a slew of structured, customised financial products and services to the marginalised farmers.
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“There is a pain for the marginalised farmers in each and every step. Right from soil preparation to choosing the various inputs for better cultivation of the crops and till the last mile of liquidating the harvest, the farmers’ life cycle is under strain. Given the fact, there is no authenticated trail of transactions, the process of securing organised financial offerings is tough. We are driving transparency through our tech-enabled platform, LEAF Farmer Network (LFN), powered by Mastercard, which brings in the complete visibility and makes the farmers credit-worthy for organised financial services. Our intervention through a partnership with IFFCO Kisan Finance enables us to open new doors for farmers and empowers them to lead their lives with dignity,” said Palat Vijayaraghavan, Founder & CEO, LEAF.
LEAF-IFFCO Kisan Finance will dovetail organised financial access along with significant new flavours of scientific advisories for farming, empowering the marginalised farmers with just the right amount of farm inputs followed by step-by-step support in striving to grow the best harvest possible.
“We are delighted to partner with LEAF in our journey to bring about a significant positive impact for the marginalised farmers. IFFCO Kisan Finance’s DNA is to bring in sustainable options to finance the farmers’ income-generating needs and to enhance their livelihoods. We will support LEAF’s efforts in building customised products to ensure that the marginalised farmers achieve sustainable livelihood growth”, said Ranjan Sharma, MD, IFFCO Kisan Finance.
To handhold the farmers and for efficient use of organised and cost-effective financial support, LEAF has structured a model through which the agricultural inputs – such as seeds, crop nutrition and protection products, are provided to marginalised farmers through a controlled dispensing process.
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This model from LEAF, supported by IFFCO Kisan Finance further recalibrates how farmers approach the aspect of agricultural inputs with a scientific data-driven approach. “We are working with the farmers to ensure that they use only the right amount of crop protection and crop nutrition products and this step will ensure that the harvest is Safe-To-Consume without an overdose of chemical enhancements,” added Vijayaraghavan.
There are many options available for farmers to access finance. In various situations, one does not know whether the funding is being put to effective use for agriculture or for some other purposes. “Our model ensures that the support, we bring to the marginalised farmers, is actually put to use for the purpose it is intended for, which is agriculture,” said Vijayaraghavan.
LEAF is bringing about a significant positive impact for the marginalised farmers and to bring in sustainable options to finance the farmers’ income-generating needs and to enhance their livelihoods. “We are building customised products in credits, savings, while also innovating to ensure the marginalised farmers are secure with sustainable livelihood growth through products such as insurance,” Vijayaraghavan highlighted.