Syngenta India, an arm of the Swiss-based agriculture company, has joined hands with Jai Kisan, a rural-focussed neo bank, to provide quick and affordable credit to smallholder farmers, and help them access the latest technology and products. Syngenta is a global agriculture inputs giant owned by the Chinese state-owned firm ChemChina.

Syngenta India’s chief sustainability officer, KC Ravi, told BusinessLine that the agreement with Jai Kisan has been signed under a farmer-friendly programme, Krishi Mitra Program, that Syngenta runs. The agreement is to run a pilot project for one year.

Abhishek Agarwal, Head (Finance), Syngenta India, said farmers can avail loans up to ₹30,000 over a period of 120 days. “Farmers need to maintain a minimum balance equal to the loan value in their bank account, which will be deducted automatically on the due date. The interest and processing fees will be deducted upfront,” he said. 

The loan is targeted at helping smallholder farmers, who contribute 40 per cent of the country’s grain production besides half of the production of fruits, vegetables and other crops, buy Syngenta products from retailers. In turn, farmers are provided with the option of deferred payment until their harvests are sold.

“The pilot will be implemented in nine locations — Indore, Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh), Aurangabad, Akola (Maharashtra), Krishna, Godavari (Andhra Pradesh), Hyderabad (Telangana), Ballari and Hubahalli (both Karnataka),” Ravi said. 

The Syngenta official said it has always been a challenge to reach farm support schemes to smallholder farmers and this partnership with Jai Kisan will help plug this gap. “Farmers will benefit from various financial programmes that will enable them to take independent decisions to access the latest technology and solutions,” he said.

Cash-based transactions

According to Kanidmalla Veeraiah, a farmer of Gaddipalli village in Telangana’s Suryapet district, he would be able to save on the 24 per cent interest he pays to the retailer to procure his crop inputs. Under the Jai Kisan project, he would benefit by at least 50 per cent cut in interest, and will be able to buy the inputs at a competitive price.

S Bakkaiah, who runs an agri input firm, said the Syngenta-Jai Kisan project has helped him procure products at a competitive price, which will also benefit farmers, in turn, as they will get them at a lower rate. “The whole transaction is entirely on cash and hassle-free. Since it is cash-based, I also get the products at a lower price than when I get them at credit,” he said. 

Dyaneshwar Bhika Riwate, a farmer from Dhawada in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district, said he has been able to get crop protection products on time through the Jai Kisan project. It has also saved him from borrowing on “painful terms,” he said. 

Ravi said it is critical that farmers are able to access finance, farming products and technologies; the Jai Kisan initiative will benefit farmers.