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SBI, Samunnati Join Hands; To Ensure Funding to FPOs

The country's largest commercial bank, State Bank of India, is expanding its reach and deepening its engagement with the FPO (Farmer Producer Organizations) segment as a promising asset class by partnering with Samunnati.

Shivam Dwivedi
The programme has benefited 17348 promising farmers through their FPOs and FPCs since its inception
The programme has benefited 17348 promising farmers through their FPOs and FPCs since its inception

SBI and Samunnati entered into a co-lending partnership in June 2022 with the goal of ensuring funding to FPOs and transforming the segment into a promising asset class. Extending finance to farmer collectives helps increase the flow of agri credit to smallholder farmers, who have long been underserved and unserved.

The co-lending partnership is set to boost financial inclusion significantly with an initial investment of Rs. 100 Crore. Aside from finance, which is critical, Samunnati provides other critical support such as digitization of business operations, training, and capacity-building programmes, all of which are required for the FPOs' overall commercial success, profitability, and self-sufficiency.

The partnership aims to provide smallholder farmers with much-needed financial solutions at low-interest rates. The programme has benefited 17348 promising farmers through their FPOs and FPCs (Farmer Producer Companies) since its inception.

Shantanu Chandrakant Pendsey, Chief General Manager (ABU & GSS), State Bank of India, commented on the development, said, “SBI is delighted to see significant progress in the co-lending arrangement with Samunnati. The ‘one of its kind’ partnership is certainly an impactful initiative for the benefit of the smallholder farmers in India and is in perfect alignment with our goal of serving the farming community by enhancing access to finance and mainstream FPO as an asset class and increasing awareness of this class of farmer-owned entities among potential lenders.”

Speaking on occasion, Anil Kumar SG, Founder & CEO, Samunnati, said, “It is heartening to see our co-lending partnership with India's largest and most reputed bank, SBI, is coming to fruition in providing affordable credit along with a wide range of financial services to a large number of farmer collectives across the country. Though we are in the program's early stages, the FPO segment's response is extremely encouraging. We strongly believe this is a significant feat towards enhanced financial inclusion, particularly for the smallholders in India, who are at the core of whatever we, at Samunnati, do.”

Pendsey was on a two-day visit to Chennai and interacted with various stakeholders in the FPO ecosystem besides taking stock of the developments of the co-lending arrangement. Radhakrishna Rayabharam, Chief General Manager, and Niraj Kumar Panda, General Manager (NW 3) of SBI, Chennai Circle have expressed interest in expanding the Co-lending program with Samunnati for the benefit of the farmers.

SBI, Chennai Circle handed over a cheque of Rs. 2,32,51,000/- towards reimbursement under the Direct Assignment route of Co-lending to benefit the farmers through FPCs.

The unique and synergistic partnership leads to a better understanding of the current challenges and opportunities in helping the FPOs, and FPCs segments grow to become profitable business enterprises and effectively, leading to an enhanced flow of Agri credit to benefit the smallholders ultimately.

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