Innovative model offers affordable extension services for crops and livestock to smallholder farmers through a wide network of trained personnel.
Mumbai, India, May 11, 2012 – Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia and across Africa, today announced an equity investment of INR 9 crores (~$2M) in BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Limited (BASIX Krishi).
BASIX Krishi delivers productivity enhancing extension services—such as soil testing, seed treatment, vermicomposting, pest management and good harvesting practices for crop farmers; and livestock vaccination, para-vet services, fodder demonstration and milk market linkages for dairy farmers. The company provides this service to its customers through a network of trained Livelihood Service Providers who visit each customer at least twice per month. Incorporated as a public limited company in April 2010, BASIX Krishi is part of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group promoted by Vijay Mahajan, an accomplished social entrepreneur who is considered a pioneer in the areas of financial inclusion and rural livelihood promotion.
“The BASIX Krishi model can increase smallholder farmer incomes by an estimated 30% through a combination of improved productivity and reduced input costs,” said Siddharth Tata, Acumen Fund’s Agriculture Portfolio Manager. “In addition to helping improve farmer livelihoods, this investment allows us to build on our knowledge base in the agri-inputs sector, providing valuable insights into how smallholder farmers make decisions on improving their farm productivity.”
Of the more than 100 million farms operating in India, nearly 85% are managed by smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land. Most of these farmers have no access to quality extension services, making it very hard to access simple tools and engage in practices that help improve farm productivity.
“Acumen Fund’s investment will help us scale BASIX Krishi’s activities to 67 branches serving nearly 350,000 farmer customers over the next two years,” said Arijit Dutta, CEO, BASIX Krishi. “Through our model, farmers receive personal visits from trained extension workers who support their productivity needs and provide on-call assistance for any questions or emergencies. Eventually, we envision a world in which all smallholder farmers have access to agricultural extension services that empower them to improve their own lives.”
About BASIX Krishi
BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Ltd (Basix Krishi) is a BASIX Group company, and was incorporated in April 2010. Basix Krishi trains and employs a network of Livelihood Service Providers (LSPs) who provide services that enhance farmers’ productivity and reduce the cost of cultivation, thereby increasing farmers’ overall income. The services cover a wide range- vaccination, de-worming, fodder management for livestock and soil testing, vermicomposting, pest management for crops.