MFOI 2024 Road Show

Interviews

In Conversation with Asstt. General Manager of AFC India Ltd

Awanesh Kalik, Asstt. General Manager of AFC India Ltd
Awanesh Kalik, Asstt. General Manager of AFC India Ltd

AFC India Ltd. (formerly Agricultural Finance Corporation Ltd.) is an India-based multidisciplinary cross-functional development organization (wholly owned by NABARD, Commercial Bank & Exim Bank) that provides consulting, advisory, and implementation support for agriculture, rural development, and other strategic socioeconomic sectors.

Krishi Jagran Team visited AFC India Ltd (Lucknow Office at Vidhan Sabha Marg) to speak with Awanesh Kalik, Asstt. General Manager of AFC India Ltd, and learn more about the company and its purpose of establishment.

1. Give me a brief overview of AFC India Ltd and its history.

AFC has repositioned itself as a specialized cross-functional Consulting Organization in line with its Vision and Mission, after a legacy of over 50 years of maintaining its expertise in various sub-sectors of agriculture, rural development, and socio-economic development.

AFC was founded in 1968 and is owned entirely by Commercial Banks, NABARD, and EXIM Bank. Under Sections 139 (5) and (7) of the Companies Act, 2013, AFC is a Deemed Government Company, and its accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). AFC is also ISO 9001-2015 certified.

After one year of operation, the company's approach and working methods changed. Banks that formed the AFC were nationalized, causing changes in their operations and priorities. As a result, the AFC's primary function, financing, was diluted within a year. This posed a significant challenge for all of us in terms of how to reposition it at a higher level.

There was no consulting firm at the time that could assist such a firm. AFC has played an important role in this, always striving to promote government policies and initiatives aimed at doubling farmer income. We assisted the State Agriculture Department in developing district and state-level agriculture plans.

In its five decades of operation, AFC has completed over 6000 consulting assignments for clients ranging from the Government of India, state governments, NABARD, commercial banks, cooperative banks, public sector undertakings, corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, IFAD, ADB, EOI, FAO, UNDP, and others.

2. What services does AFC India Ltd provide to different sectors and stakeholders?

AFC has the distinction of having worked in nearly all of the sub-sectors and thematic areas associated with its focal sectors, namely agriculture, rural development, and socioeconomic development.

In 2008, we collaborated with the State Agricultural Department on a project called 'Need-Based Training,' through which we provided training to the farming community based on their needs and at their own locations. And the training model worked perfectly.

Apart from this, we have assisted farmers in a variety of support activities such as proper marketing of their produce with value addition, weather-related information, and raising awareness about newer government policies and technologies. Farmers' income increased as a result of this, which the government also appreciates.

AFC's core competencies include identifying potential projects for promoting development in various sub-sectors, conducting pre-feasibility/scoping studies, baseline studies, potential surveys, project formulation and appraisal, techno-economic project appraisals, monitoring, and evaluation, impact assessment, needs assessment, socio-economic studies, and so on.

3. What initiatives has AFC India Ltd taken to empower farmers at the grassroots level?

AFC has expanded into large-scale grassroots project implementation in areas such as organic farming, agriculture extension, agri-business development, watershed development, forestry, climate change, rural livelihood promotion, education, health & nutrition, training & capacity building, skilling, and financial literacy over the years.

We also work in rural development by improving the knowledge of all tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions through proper training on the ground and collaborations with various state agencies and programmes like MNREGA. AFC now serves the entire agricultural and rural development value chain, from policy advocacy to project implementation and management, training and capacity building, and skill development in rural and semi-urban areas.

(Author: Shivam Dwivedi)

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