New Delhi: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Absolute, bioscience company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen the central government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and enhance the resilience of farmers.
The partnership aims to boost the implementation of the PMFBY and the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS) by building technical capabilities of the scheme and digitalizing service delivery of crop insurance and agricultural credit processes to increase reach and uptake of the schemes.
It will also promote credit profiling of farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, and Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), for accurate crop loss assessment and risk evaluation to mobilize agriculture financing.
UNDP and Absolute will use advanced technology and data-driven solutions to facilitate farmland identification and enhance farm monitoring, R&D, and analytical capabilities to facilitate data-driven policymaking and fraud analytics, ensuring efficient and transparent delivery of government support to vulnerable farmers.
India's agriculture produce is particularly vulnerable to weather fluctuations, pest attacks, erratic rainfall, and humidity. These factors lead to lower yields and hit income of farmers each year. India lost 33.9 million ha of cropped area between 2015 and 2021 due to floods and excess rains and 35 million ha due to drought.
“We are witnessing an increasing trend of climate driven yield losses in agriculture. This partnership with UNDP is a strong step forward in mitigating this increasing risk pattern which can potentially impact over 120 million farmers across the country," said Agam Khare, founder and CEO of Absolute. “This initiative is in line with our vision to reimagine what's possible in agriculture by intersecting core plant science with technology. This will help us move one step closer to achieve our goal of empowering farmer communities & making agriculture climate resilient."
UNDP has been working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Family Welfare since 2018. In 2022, UNDP’s technical support unit at the ministry helped reach out to 1.71 crore farmers through various information, education, and communication (IEC) campaigns such as Crop Insurance Week and organized more than 2.39 lakh crop insurance classroom sessions.
The crop insurance scheme offers risk protection by providing financial support to farmers suffering crop loss or damage arising out of these unforeseen events, thus stabilizing their income, encouraging them to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices and ensuring the flow of credit to the agriculture sector for food security, crop diversification and enhancing growth and competitiveness of agriculture sector.
“Risk is an inherent part of agriculture and is one of the biggest roadblocks in improving the lives of farmer communities in India. This collaboration is an important step towards strengthening the risk and credit ecosystem for agriculture in India. UNDP India is committed to working with the government and partners to help farmers in India rise with resilience", said Amit Kumar, head, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, UNDP India.
The infusion of technology through this partnership will also facilitate a robust credit flow to the agriculture sector, thereby strengthening food security, crop diversification, enhanced growth, and competitiveness of the agriculture sector in India.
UNDP has been working in India since 1951 in almost all areas of human development. Together with the Indian government and development partners, it works towards eradicating poverty, reducing inequalities, strengthening local governance, enhancing community resilience, protecting the environment, supporting policy initiatives and institutional reforms, and accelerating sustainable development for all.
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