Aquaconnect partners with bank to provide loans for Indian aquaculture farmers
Indian aquaculture technology platform Aquaconnect has teamed up with state-owned Bank of Baroda to help local aquaculture farmers access loans with reasonable interest rates, Bw Disrupt reported.
Bank of Baroda Rural and Agri Banking Department General Manager M V Murali Krishna and Aquaconnect Chief Growth Officer Arpan Bhalerao have signed a memorandum of understanding on the partnership.
“This partnership will be a good opportunity for aquaculture farmers to avail loans at competitive interest rate along with technical expertise for shrimp farming,” Krishna said.
A total 1.65 million aquaculture farmers in India are expected to benefit from the credit program under the Kisan Credit Card Scheme (KCC), including 1.5 million fish farmers and 150,000 shrimp farmers across the country. The scheme was initiated by the Indian government in 1998 to provide local farmers with loans for agricultural needs.
Farmers qualified for the program will be offered loans with an annual interest rate of 10 percent, which is much lower than the rates from informal lending sources.
Many Indian fish and shrimp farmers have had to borrow loans from informal lending sources to finance their business operations with annual interest rates of up to 40 percent, Aquaconnect’s CEO Rajamanohar was quoted as saying.
Bank of Baroda is a leading public bank in India. Under the credit program, the bank will provide farmers with loans for up to INR 10 million (USD 136,845, EUR 115,157) under the KCC scheme and fisheries loan. Loans with higher value are available in other schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) and The Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF), and will be considered on case-on-case basis.
Initially the partnership targets Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Orissa, which will be extended to other states across India.
Aquaconnect will provide farmers with advisory services and quality farm inputs, and help banks manage the loans.
“Aquaconnect’s AquaCRED platform helps banks manage the entire aquaculture lending portfolio throughout the loan lifecycle. We use cutting edge machine learning algorithms and satellite remote sensing analytics, to provide a near-real time view of the portfolio,” Aquaconnect Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance Head Amit Salunkhe (Dhas) said.