GUWAHATI: Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services (ARIAS) Society, an autonomous body under the Government of Assam, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Caspian Impact Investment Adviser Pvt. Ltd. (Caspian Equity), a venture capital institution that invests in social impact enterprises. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of strengthening rural infrastructure and fostering agricultural productivity in Assam.
Under the partnership, ARIAS will be the nodal agency for establishing and implementing a contributory and determinate investment trust - the Assam Agribusiness Investment Fund (AAIF). ARIAS is designated as the anchor investor for the AAIF, which will be managed by Caspian Equity as the fund manager. With anchor funding from the World Bank through Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART), AAIF will operate as a Category II Alternative Investment Fund registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
With a corpus of Rs 250 crore, AAIF is a unique sector-specific fund through a state government in India, focusing on boosting agricultural productivity and employment generation in the state. It will mainly invest in small and medium enterprises in the agribusiness and allied sectors to achieve accelerated growth.
Dr Ashish Kumar Bhutani, Agriculture Production Commissioner, Government of Assam and Chairman, ARIAS Society, said “AAIF is a unique and first-of-its-kind State-led initiative that aims to address the critical gaps in value chain financein the agriculture and allied sectors and help increase farmers’ income.”
Akash Deep, State Project Director, ARIAS Society, said, “The partnership is aimed at identifying and addressing key challenges faced by the rural communities in Assam. It will open up new avenues for us to advance our efforts in rural development. By leveraging our collective strengths and through targeted investments, the initiative will enable farmers and rural entrepreneurs of Assam to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and advanced technologies to enhance efficiency and reduce environmental impact.”
Toshiaki Ono, Finance Sector Specialist, World Bank Group, said, “The World Bank is committed to supporting food value chain development in Assam in response to the growing demand for high-value food products. Agribusiness SMEs play a vital role in this transformation but external finance, especially long-term and patient capital for their growth is extremely limited. We are very much excited to launch the Assam Agribusiness Investment Fund with the Government of Assam, the ARIAS Society, and the Caspian Impact Investment Advisor. We are confident that the Fund will support high-growth and high-impact agribusiness SMEs for vibrant and resilient agri-food value chains in Assam.”
SaurabhJohri, Executive Director and CEO, Caspian Impact Investment Adviser Pvt. Ltd., said, “We are delighted to collaborate with ARIAS in our shared mission to catalyze the economic development of Assam’s rural communities. By combining our investment expertise with ARIAS’s deep-rooted knowledge and experience, we aim to make a sustainable impact and empower individuals to thrive. We look forward to building on this partnership to enable the creation of a prosperous and empowered rural community. The AAIF Fund is aligned with Caspian’s vision to work at the grassroots level to create a deep impact towards UN Sustainable Development Goals.”