Towards accessing finance
To identify business opportunities and different sources for accessing finance federation members were trained and made aware that a sustainable business needs to connect with different financial institutions and not just depend on grants or subsidies.
Kuchdhuwa Jonomorjyoti Block Maha Sangha is on its way to accessing finance from a financial institution. It is on the verge of creating a success story in Assam for accessing loan to scale up business. During the Multi Actor Working Committee meeting held on 24th January 2018, when there was an official launch of TUNGCHAR turmeric powder in front of all the stakeholders, the event had a rippling affect. The very next day, representatives from the North Eastern Development Financial Institution approached the Kuchdhuwa Federation for financing their business offering to scale it up.
Kuchdhuwa was registered in 2007 with around 5.000 members being a part of it. In 2014, agriculture department gifted a turmeric grinding machine to the federation. In the year 2017 one of the Civic Engagement Alliance partners identified it as one of the 5 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO) with whom the coalition started working. It was a two way approach where intensive field level capacity enhancement, peer to peer learning from other successful interventions, interaction with industry experts etc. was carried out.
In August 2017, a sensitization workshop on access to finance for the federation members was organized which helped them to identify business opportunities and different sources for accessing finance. The training helped them to understand that in order to develop a sustainable business they have to connect the federation with different financial institutions and not just depend on grants or subsidies.
In October 2017, there was an interaction with other FPO leaders from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where different success stories and documentary movies were shared which has helped the peer learnings for Kushdhuwa federation members to build a vision to scale up their business by accessing finance from financial institution.
It was followed by the visioning session where the vision, objection and future plan of action of the federation was identified by the federation leaders after proper facilitation. The next step was making them understand the whole scope of turmeric cultivation where group task was done on costing of turmeric cultivation and other scope of collectively doing in unused lands through Self Help Groups in Village level.
The Coalition partners in parallels met with officials of leading Financial Institutions like NEDFi, Yes Bank and NABARD to share with them about the whole work carried out within the Civic Engagement Alliance. These federation leaders also received Local Fund Raising and Mobilizing Support Trainings under Wilde Ganzen program that helped them to identify stakeholders within their working area and to approach them for support.
In the next phase, workshop on access to finance was conducted were industry experts shared about various documents that they need to prepare before approaching financial institutions for accessing credit. NEDFi representatives were also called to share their expertise in the workshop and it was the first level of interaction where the women leaders shared their expertise in turmeric processing, weaving and the need for finance to scale up the activities. It was followed up by a business plan exercise where after two days of intensive discussion from 17-19th October,2017 business plan was drafted with procurement plan of 5000 kgs of turmeric in the 1ST year.
The trainings had positive effect on the federation leaders as they had approached local Panchayat officials and sanctioned the construction of boundary wall for their federation campus. Next phase they approached banks and got an insight of the technicalities to access finance and also approached the Agricultural Scientists for Post Harvesting trainings of turmeric crops.
With all these processes linked up, a bankable case of a Farmer Producer Organization which had gained confidence of the financial institution’s to invest in these community institutions was pitched and it was helpful in making them attain sustainable growth.