At Sagri, we have been talking with quite a lot of FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations), AgTech Startups, and local farmer groups across India. We have learned a lot about the problems faced by Indian Farmers, and the hardships they faced. One of the biggest and most prominent being their inability to access credits from both the Public and Private sector lenders.
Sagri decided to face the problem head-on and start a Micro-Finance lending platform for the un-banked, un-served Indian Farmers. Under the initiative of the parent Japanese company, Sagri decided to start the “Tobidase” (Sagri Finance) Project in India.
The idea is a simple pro-farmer micro-finance initiative, “Give loans to farmers at favorable interest rates.”
We are still in the process of building a platform to measure “credit-score” for Indian farmers by leveraging our soil testing, and satellite imagery technology. We will be using similar satellite technology that we used for the Agtaba project and the IoT solution from our Tellus project in Japan.
Right now, we are exploring opportunities in many parts of India. Some of the prominent states are being Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Assam, and Manipur. We are looking for more AgTech, FPOs, and Farmer Groups to partners in all part of India.
The ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic is making it harder for us to interact with our partners and meet up prospects. However, we have taken this as an opportunity to push our agenda much ahead of schedule.
On Apr 1, 2020, we started our first micro-finance pilot loans by disbursing loans to the farmers affected by the COVID-19 Lockdown in the state of Manipur. We were able to speed up the loan disbursement by partnering with FreshiesFresh. They made sure that the loans were given to the needy farmers, who will benefit from the extra cash infusion in these hard times.
India is right now in a total lockdown, and the farmers are one of the worst affected. Their products are not transported, not sold, and these loses are seen everywhere.