Call for proposal – Agriculture finance challenge fund

Friday, January 7, 2022

The application will be closed on 7 Jan 2022

The Assam AgriFin Xamahar (“Xamahar”) is a Challenge Fund or a competitive funding mechanism for supporting innovative approaches, especially by the private sector, to deliver financial services at scale for farmers in key agriculture value chains in Assam. It is funded by the World Bank and is being implemented by the Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services (ARIAS), under the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART).
Initiated as the Assam Challenge Fund for Innovative Finance in Agriculture (ACFIFA), it has been named ‘Assam AgriFin Xamahar,’. The underlining aim of the fund is to facilitate access to finance as well as responsible use of the financial services provided. It envisages acting as a catalyst, which will enable high-impact investment in agriculture in Assam, while encouraging innovation that meets the requirements of all stakeholders in agriculture value chains.

The challenge fund will support 8-12 competitively selected financial service providers with grants ranging from USD 400,000 to 500,000 to help scale-up financial services to farmers and agribusinesses in Assam through innovative approaches. The supported sub-projects are expected to help increase access to payment, savings, credit, and insurance services for farmers, farmer organizations and agribusinesses.
The purpose of the Assam AgriFin Xamahar is to support testing and/or scaling-up of tested innovations by financial service providers (banks, MFIs, value chain financiers, insurance companies, payments service providers) that can increase access to financial services (savings, payments, insurance and credit) among agriculture value chains in Assam.

The Fund will support subprojects of financial services innovations in agriculture from business-oriented organizations, through initial risk capital in the form of grants for de-risking them and making them viable. The subproject should play a catalytic role and it is expected that the promoting organizations will scale up the innovations commercially as a part of their business model. This will lead to improved access to financial services in agriculture for a large number of beneficiaries across Assam. The applicant organizations, therefore, must see the innovations as long-term business opportunities and not just for implementing a limited time sub-project.