As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a firm grip over the globe, the Indian government has extended a $50,000 grant to the local corn sector to highlight the importance of agriculture in the face of a pandemic.
Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran, in a forum organized by the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc., said they are willing to exchange technologies with the Philippines to improve the operations of smallholder farmers.
On top of the grant, the Indian and the Philippine governments are working on a possible agritech and fintech exchange that may address the gaps in the country’s agricultural value chain and the private banks’ reluctance in providing loans to agricultural businesses given the risks that are associated with it.
Kumaran said they were already in talks with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to offer a technology to the Development Bank of the Philippines that would allow it to calculate risks in providing credit to farmers using geospatial and satellite data.
“It will be free of charge. The revenue model allows that the creditors and software companies have the benefit from using the technology,” he said.
India’s fintech industry has steadily grown over the years, boasting of over 1,000 agri-tech startups as of 2020.
These companies are engaged in addressing water and crop stress in farm production that advises farmers on what crops to use depending on the weather.
The possible replication of an Indian financing system called “Viability Gap Fund” was also proposed by the Philippine Maize Federation Inc. that could finance the construction of post-harvest facilities.
India’s help to the sector is a welcoming development, as smart public policies are critical in developing agriculture.