Nearly 85 percent of India’s more than 100 million farms are less than 2 hectares in size. Only 6 percent of farmers in India have access to an extension worker provided by the government, and almost 60 percent do not have access to extension services at all. Many smallholders rely on traditional agricultural knowledge passed down from their forebearers and lack information about contemporary best practices that would increase farm productivity.
While some extension services broadcast information over radio and via SMS, instruction in many productivity-enhancing services such as livestock vaccination, artificial insemination, and scientific analysis of soil nutrients require in-person contact.
BASIX Krishi is a group company of the BASIX Group, promoted by Vijay Mahajan, an accomplished social entrepreneur who is widely regarded as a pioneer in the areas of microfinance and rural development.
BASIX Krishi uses a network of trained Livelihood Service Providers (LSPs) who deliver in-person extension service to farmers; in return for an upfront subscription fee of INR 800 (USD 16), farmers get access to a minimum of one visit every two weeks to their farm and on-call support for queries or questions they may have.
By providing each LSP with the right training and supervisory support from agriculture experts and managers, who typically hold post-graduate degrees in agriculture and veterinary sciences, the company is able to deliver quality extension services to its customers including de-worming, fodder management for livestock, soil testing, and training for integrated pest management for crops.
The BASIX Krishi model can increase smallholder farmer incomes by an estimated 30% through a combination of improved productivity and reduced input costs.
Acumen’s investment will help scale BASIX Krishi’s activities by expanding their existing network of branches.