The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with the Confederation of Indian Industries – Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (CII-FACE) to set up rural business hubs in eastern India. These rural business hubs will serve as one-stop-shops that offer various agricultural inputs and services to farmers, including weather information, crop management advice and access to markets and finance.
To increase farmer incomes in the region, these hubs are teaming up with public and private sector partners to demonstrate best practices and strengthen producer-processor-retailer linkages to better address the challenges related to production, price and marketing that farmers face in the region.
Recently, through a competitive bidding process, CII-FACE awarded two contracts to Indian companies -Keventer Agro Limited (Keventer) and Sahaj e-Village Limited (Sahaj) – to focus on banana production and marketing in the South 24 Parganas and Nadia districts of West Bengal.
Sahaj will facilitate the formation of informal groups for up to 1,500 interested banana farmers each year (a total 3,000 farmers over project period) and make affordable technologies and innovations accessible to them. These progressive members employing best practices will then reach out to non-project banana farmers for demonstration and motivational activities. Keventer, in turn, will facilitate a banana procurement process through its wide network across 18 districts of West Bengal.
This synergistic partnership between Sahaj and Keventer will improve the banana value chain in the region by increasing productivity and linking farmers with private retailers/ processors and other stakeholders, leading to increased income at all stages – production, processing, distribution and retail.