• Prawn Culture Introduced under APART

Assam Fund Opportunities

The Assam AgriFin Xamahar has identified priority thematic areas, in which innovations are needed. Applicants will be expected to describe which one or more problem areas their innovation will address in their application. The objective of Assam fund opportunity is to enable investments in agri-enterprises, improve investment environment and promote investment through various themes for Assam Challenge Fund.

  • Themes
  • Value Chain

Assam AgriFin Challenge Fund Themes

APART Value Chain

Banana

The uniqueness of banana sector in Assam, a natural home of this crop, is its diverse characteristics – i.e., varietal strength – numbering 15 to 20. Some of the excellent traits of these varieties may be lucrative for the breeders – but these crops are awaiting commercialization and value addition. With over 51279 hectares of area under cultivation, Assam is one of largest banana producing states in the country.

In Assam, the most important variety of Banana is “Malbhog”. Nearby companies like Keventer Ltd. in Kolkata has already visited so many FPCs of Banana in Assam and suggested them to grow “G9” and “Cavendish” varieties of Banana to boost their export potential. In Assam, Banana farmers struggles to get access of finance for mainly two field operations – For Planting Material purchase and for the construction of Ripening Chambers and Pack Houses. They also need support for the purchase of transport vehicles. Farmers also need support for setting up of Banana Chips Processing Unit and Banana Fiber Processing Units.

 

Brinjal/Egg Plant

In Assam, Brinjal is grown in two seasons-Winter (Sep-Oct) & Spring (Jan-Feb), covering an approximate area of 17,800 hectares with an average yield of 172.25 quintals/hectare against the national average yield of 176.69 quintals/hectare. Districts like Bongaigaon, Kamrup (R), Cachar, Barpeta, Morigaon and Dhubri, each produces more than 18500tons/annum with an average yield of 20-24 Metric Ton/hectare, which are ≈25% higher than national average.

APART and World Vegetable Centre (WorldVeg) are supporting farmer with training programs to promote climate resilient good practices. WorldVeg has reported an increase of production upto 46% among farmers adopting the revised techniques of production. Farmers are now being trained on integrated pest management (IPM) systems to reduced pesticide usage, for improved product quality of the vegetable. Farmers mainly need support for setting up of Greenhouse/ Polyhouse, Nursery, Sorting, Grading & Aggregation Unit, Pack Houses, Cold Storages and Refrigerated Transport.

 

Cabbage

The cabbage value chain has the involvement of World Vegetable Centre (WorldVeg), Directorate of Horticulture and Food Processing (DoH&FP), Assam Agricultural University, ARIAS in supporting Value Chain Stakeholders. These players are providing training to the farmers on selection of optimum varieties, climate resilient good practices, integrated pest management, besides providing general technical support services, and enterprise development through vegetable seedling nurseries. Farmers associated with the support mechanism are adopting the revised techniques of production which has led to 26.34% higher yield in cabbage production in 2019-20. Cabbage Farmers mainly need support for setting up of Sorting, Grading & Aggregation Unit, Pack Houses and Cold Storages. They also need support for the purchase of Refrigerated Vans and Transport Vehicles.

 

Cauliflower

APART is supporting the value chain activities along with World Vegetable Centre (WorldVeg), Directorate of Horticulture and Food Processing (DoH&FP), Assam Agricultural University. Activities like training the farmers selection of optimum varieties, climate resilient good practices, integrated pest management, providing general technical support services, and enterprise development through vegetable seedling nurseries, have been initiated with cauliflower. Farmers adopting the revised techniques of production compared to the normal production techniques have shown 21.43% higher yield in cabbage production in 2019-20. Farmers mainly need support for setting up of Sorting, Grading & Aggregation Unit, Pack Houses, Cold Storages and Refrigerated Transport system.

Ginger

Assam is famous for its less fibred “Nadia” variety of ginger. Ginger Cultivation is primarily carried out by the small and marginal farmers mostly from hilly & tribal areas using the shifting cultivation technique. Productivity of ginger ranges from 9–11 Metric Tonnes/hectare. The use of chemical fertilizers is very minimal. The harvest season is usually between November and January depending upon the maturity of variety. Ginger are sold in both fresh and dried form. Market Linkages created have been encouraging. Ginger processors like Bazaari Funde have agreed to procure 200 Kg dry ginger (approximately 1280 Kgs of fresh ginger) based on the initial market linkages

Ginger farmers in Assam need financial support for Construction of Primary Processing Centers (for washing, grading and packing of fresh ginger). So, the Primary Processing Centre would add additional benefit to the ginger farmers of Assam. Along with that, farmers also need access to finance for the construction of Integrated Processing Units, Pack Houses and Transport Vehicles.

 

Potato

As per Department of Horticulture under GOI advance estimates for FY20, Assam currently contributes to 2.25% of the horticulture crops production in the country. During FY18, the yield/Ha for Assam was 7 MT compared to a national average of 23.96 MT. The major impediment in Assam is the lack of quality seeds and infrastructure facilities for irrigation. Hence, most farmers in Assam grow potatoes with inferior seeds under rainā€fed conditions, which often result in low yields.

International Potato Center (CIP) in collaboration with APART is undertaking multiple initiatives to promote potato cultivation in Assam. One such initiative is Value Chain Schools (VCS), a project to foster entrepreneurship among small and marginal farmers by developing the potato value chain and bringing in innovations in potato farming practices. It has introduced zero tillage potato farming done between two rice harvesting seasons.

CIP is also introducing contract farming in potato cultivation in Assam in collaboration with PepsiCo and Haldiram. Under such contracts, quantity and price is assured by the off taker. Financial Service Providers can explore collaboration with CIP, PepsiCo and/or Haldiram with the objective of delivering credit, insurance and other financial services to the potato farmers. Lending agencies will face minimal Credit Risk due to assured buyback mechanism under contract farming. Further transaction costs can also be reduced by delivering all services only through farmer collectives.

 

Pulses

APART is working to develop the value chain of three pulse crops a) Black Gram, b) Lentil and c) Pea. These crops are an important source of protein and can improves soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. Value chain development interventions of Black Gram have been initiated in 16 clusters, lentil in 10 clusters and Pea in 10 clusters covering the districts of Barpera, Darrang, Dhubri, Golaghat, Jorhat, Morigaon and Sonitpur.

The emphasis is to increase the area coverage for farming of pulses with assistance from World Veg, Indian Institute of Pulses Research and AAU. On-farm crop demonstrations and farmer trainings are being done to promote adoption of recommended PoP developed by AAU. The ATMAs (Agricultural Technology Management Agency) have been strengthened to provide improved production and marketing support to farmers. The Pulses value chain requires post-harvest management and value addition for better access to input and output markets.

 

Pumpkin

Assam is one of the best pumpkins producing state of NER and now a days, some of its FPCs are also exporting their certified organic pumpkin from Assam to Gulf countries. To support this value chain, ARIAS society through APART has carried out demonstrations and trainings in pumpkin value chain. The trainings have improved the yield in the control plots of these demonstrations.

Training on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) technologies and reduced usage of chemicals, have been completed. Production of Open Pollinated (OP) seed, with characteristics similar to hybrid varieties but without the associated problems of hybrid varieties, have been received from World Veg-South Asia and is being implemented in districts, where nursery have already become functional. Pumpkin farmers in Assam require support on pricing, market linkages apart from the construction of pack house and transport mechanism.

 

Sericulture & Handloom

The Focus in Sericulture & Handloom is on end-to-end interventions of the value chain to increase production of silk and improve the quality of silk. Intervention are being implemented at every stage of the silk value chain, from silkworm seed production to addressing supply-side and demand-side gaps. The value chain is targeting 15,000 producers.

The value chain is creating cluster level infrastructure such as community jail (netted) houses, nurseries, cocoon houses, eri rearing houses, cocoon drying chambers, grain-age houses, and providing support through technical assistance. The value chain requires larger market linkages and financial intervention packages that facilitate creation of productive assets by farmers.

 

Fishery

With abundant water resources, the Fishery value chain in Assam has great potential. The water spread area of the state is 4820 sq km and combined with numerous naturally occurring water bodies add up, to its vast potential for fishery covering an area of 2.62 lakh hectares of water resources. Fish production in the State was recorded as 3.27 lakh metric tons during 2019. There was a demand and production shortage of 0.29 lakh metric tons. While the production in the state is rising, it’s still a net importer of fish due to high demand. There is potential to increase production by 3 lakh metric tons.

The immediate requirement of the value chain is to increase the flow of finance to the existing mechanism of Fishery Cooperatives. The co-operatives needs to be recognised as an enabler for farmers to source finance. There is huge potential for insurance in Fishery with customised products that enable fish farmers to improve quality and quantity of the produce enabling farmers to invest on APART introduced projects like prawn farming.

 

Dairy

The dairy sector in Assam has the potential to support a large number of livelihoods. As per the Department of Animal Husbandry under GOI, the per capita availability of milk in Assam was 71 gms/day in FY19 which is very low compared to the national average of 394 gms/day. In Assam, of the total volume of milk produced, around 60 percent gets consumed at the production level and only remaining 40 percent volume becomes available as marketable surplus. Of this more than 90 percent volume is being collected by the players in the informal sector, mostly bulk aggregators. This showcases a huge gap in commercialization of a potential sector in the state. ARIAS estimates a shortfall in milk production at 1,872 million liters by FY22.

ARIAS plans to promote the dairy sector in Assam through the provision of financial, institutional and technical assistance to dairy farmers associated with FPOs/Cooperatives. 5 districts (Sonitpur, Nagaon, Kamrup, Jorhat and Lakhimpur) have been identified for dairy intervention based on milch cattle population.

Financial Services Providers (FSPs) can explore collaboration with West Assam Milk Producers' Co-operative Union Ltd. (WAMUL), to deliver customized financial services to dairy farmers associated with WAMUL including cattle loans, livestock insurance, personal loans, savings and investment services, payments etc. Such services can be delivered through the Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCS) /FPOs at the village level to reduce credit and transaction costs.