Syngenta and Jai Kisan bank sign a deal to give small farmers affordable loans
Syngenta India, a branch of the Swiss agriculture company Syngenta, has teamed up with Jai Kisan, a new bank with a focus on rural areas, to give small land-holding farmers quick and affordable loans and help them get the latest technology and products.
KC Ravi, the chief sustainability officer for Syngenta India, said that the agreement with Jai Kisan was signed as part of a program called Krishi Mitra Program that Syngenta runs to help farmers. Under the agreement, a pilot project will run for one year.
Syngenta India’s Head of Finance, Abhishek Agarwal, said that farmers can borrow up to 30,000 over a period of 120 days. ‘Farmers need to maintain a minimum balance in their bank account equal to the loan amount. On the due date, the money will be taken out automatically. The interest and fees for processing will be taken out right away, he said.
The loan is meant to help small-scale farmers buy Syngenta products from retailers. These farmers grow 40% of the country’s grains and 50% of its fruits, vegetables, and other crops. In return, farmers can choose to wait to get paid until their crops have been sold.
‘The pilot will be used in nine places: Indore, Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh), Aurangabad, Akola (Maharashtra), Krishna, Godavari (Andhra Pradesh), Hyderabad (Telangana), Ballari and Hubahalli (both Karnataka),’ Ravi said.
The Syngenta official said that getting farm support programs to smallholder farmers has always been hard, but that this partnership with Jai Kisan will help fill this gap. ‘Farmers will be able to use the latest technology and solutions because of different financial programs that will give them the freedom to make their own choices,’ he said.
Transactions with cash
Kanidmalla Veeraiah, a farmer from the village of Gaddipalli in the Suryapet district of Telangana, says that he would be able to save the 24% interest he pays to the retailer to buy the things he needs for his crops. Under the Jai Kisan project, his interest rate would be cut by at least 50%, and he would be able to buy the inputs at a fair price.
S. Bakkaiah, who runs an agri-input company, said that the Syngenta-Jai Kisan project has helped him get products at a competitive price, which in turn will help farmers get the products at a lower price. ‘The whole deal is done in cash and without any trouble. Since it’s based on cash, I also pay less for the products than when I buy them on credit,’ he said.
Dyaneshwar Bhika Riwate, a farmer from Dhawada in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, said that the Jai Kisan project has helped him get crop protection products on time. He also said that it has kept him from having to borrow money on ‘painful terms.’
Ravi said that it is important for farmers to have access to money, products, and technologies for farming. The Jai Kisan initiative will help farmers.