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 advice, consultancy and implementation support for the agriculture, rural development, and other strategic socio-economic sectors.
Krishi Jagran’s team visited AFC India Ltd (Lucknow office at Vidhan Sabha Marg) to speak with Awanesh Kalik, Asstt. Managing Director of AFC India Ltd, and learn more about the company and its founding purpose.
1. Give me a brief overview of AFC India Ltd and its history.
AFC has repositioned itself as a specialist cross-functional consultancy organization in line with its vision and mission, after a legacy of more than 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 wholly owned by commercial banks, NABARD and EXIM Bank. Under Sections 139 (5) and (7) of the Companies Act 2013, AFC is a deemed Crown corporation and its accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). AFC is also ISO 9001-2015 certified.
After a year of operation, the company’s approach and working methods have changed. The banks that formed the AFC were nationalized, leading to changes in their operations and priorities. As a result, AFC’s main function, funding, was diluted in one year. This posed a significant challenge for all of us in terms of repositioning to a higher level.
There was no consulting firm at the time that could help such a business. AFC has played an important role in this regard, always striving to promote government policies and initiatives aimed at doubling farmers’ incomes. We’ve helped the state Department of Agriculture develop district and state agricultural plans.
During its five decades in business, AFC has completed over 6000 consultancy assignments for clients ranging from Government of India, State Governments, NABARD, Commercial Banks, Co-operative Banks, Public Sector Enterprises, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and multilateral organizations. agencies such as the World Bank, IFAD, AfDB, 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 almost all the sub-sectors and thematic areas associated with its sectors of concentration, namely agriculture, rural development and socio-economic development.
In 2008, we collaborated with the National Department of Agriculture on a project called “Needs-Based Training,” through which we provided training to the farming community based on their needs and at their own sites. And the training model worked perfectly.
Apart from this, we have assisted the farmers in various support activities such as proper marketing of their products with added value, weather information and raising awareness of new government policies and technologies. As a result, farmers’ incomes have increased, which the government also appreciates.
AFC’s core competencies include identifying potential projects to promote development in various sub-sectors, conducting pre-feasibility/scoping studies, baseline studies, potential surveys, formulation and l project evaluation, technical-economic project evaluation, monitoring and evaluation, impact assessment, needs assessment, socio-economic studies, etc.
3. What initiatives has AFC India Ltd taken to empower farmers at the local level?
AFC has expanded to implement large-scale local projects in areas such as organic agriculture, agricultural extension, agribusiness development, watershed development, forestry, climate change, promotion of rural livelihoods, education, health and nutrition, training and capacity building, skills, and financial literacy over the years.
We also work in rural development by enhancing the knowledge of all levels of Panchayati Raj institutions through appropriate on-the-job training and collaborations with various state agencies and programs 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 skills development in rural and semi-urban areas.
(Author: Shivam Dwivedi)