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BPC SME marketplace provides financial access for 75,000 Indian farmers

Digital payments solutions provider BPC has completed a pilot of its Safal Fasal SME marketplace, onboarding 75,000 Indian farmers to put them on a level playing field with the whole agricultural value chain.

Launched in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, BPC’s Safal Fasal aims to digitise the entire agriculture ecosystem, and the pilot has been able to provide farmers in India with vital contingency planning to keep the supply chain rolling, providing access to input, financing, insurance and advisory services.

Debarshi Dutta, EVP and Global Head of Safal Fasal, explained that such agile plans could not have been possible if farmers, who are already hard-hit by the impact of COVID-19, had to act alone.BPC logo

“Our vision for Safal Fasal is to safeguard the SMEs within the agriculture sector in India who are the lifeblood of the economy. Farmers are often invisible to banks, credit organisations and buyers. By creating a marketplace model, Safal Fasal puts farmers on a level playing field with the whole agricultural value chain, giving them a voice, negotiating power and financial access to the real economy.”

Dutta told IBS Intelligence that Safal Fasal is helping farmers protect their business, establishing the market linkages with credit providers to boost much-needed access to capital, through partnerships with ICICI Bank, microfinance institutions and P2P lenders.

“Accelerating the use of digital agriculture solutions is no longer a nice to have, it is a necessity. Therefore, Safal Fasal was built to digitise the entire agriculture ecosystem,” he said.

The marketplace is a closed-loop payment system which leverages electronic payment options, allowing SMEs to receive credit from lenders, make payments to suppliers and receive payment from merchants all digitally using the single platform. Making a traditionally cash-based operation digital also helps establish a financial profile for the SME, without a credit score.

Through access to Farmers Producers Organisations (FPO), Safal Fasal has helped 75,000 Indian farmers access instant payment for the first time and increase their income, and during the three-month pilot, BPC saw $64,000 in transactions, exceeding the target by 150 per cent.

The next phase for the project, Dutta said, includes expansion throughout India to the states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

“But our bigger ambition is to use our BPC SME Marketplace solution to revolutionise other industries all across the globe. Our mission is to positively impact the lives of 10 million producers within the next five years,” Dutta said.

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