Agriculture IndustryFarming and Agriculture

Palladium Prioritizing Sustainable Results To Enhance Farm Income

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Exclusive Interview: Mr. Amit Kumar Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India with Mr. Nimish Gangrade, Krishak Jagat, India.

29 December 2023, New Delhi: Palladium is a global management consulting and impact firm working with governments, businesses, investors, and communities to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Founded in 1965 and operating in 100 countries, Palladium is on a mission to be the most impactful business on the planet

Mr. Amit Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India

In India, Palladium started its operations in 2004, and since then has been at the forefront of innovation, driving transformative solutions that enhance lives, uplift communities, and contribute to a brighter future for all. With a deep understanding of local dynamics and a global perspective, they bring a unique blend of expertise to every project, ensuring holistic and impactful outcomes.

We spoke with Mr. Amit Kumar Patjoshi, CEO, Palladium India to understand how is Palladium involved in the Indian agriculture ecosystem and how is it helping smallholder farmers.

1. What does Palladium do in the agriculture sector?

Palladium plays a crucial role in driving economic and business solutions within the Indian agriculture sector. Our primary focus is on the transformation of agricultural ecosystems, stimulating both public and private investments, and creating shared value for farmers and the market. Currently operational in 6 states and engaging with over 600 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), we have a positive impact on more than 300,000 farmers.

Our approach goes beyond traditional delivery models, prioritizing sustainable results to enhance the income and capacities of small and marginal producers. This involves integrating them into market systems, with the focal point being our unique Market System Development (MSD) approach. Unlike direct delivery models, MSD is based on “Making Markets Work for the Poor” (M4P) principles, seeking sustainable results in non-emergency contexts. The MSD approach focuses on Systemic Change by improving core market functions, Facilitation to support lasting behavioral change in market system actors, and Sustainability to ensure enduring changes beyond the intervention period. 

Additionally, Palladium India actively bridges the gap between producers and potential buyers. Through extensive outreach and information dissemination, we empower FPOs with knowledge about diverse schemes and services, enabling them to make informed decisions in navigating complex market dynamics.

We are leading transformative initiatives to uplift and empower smallholder farmers by collaborating with state governments to establish a robust business support system for the creation and market development of FPOs. This comprehensive approach aims to create a facilitative ecosystem where farmer collectives are equipped with the necessary skills and resources to thrive. Simultaneously, it provides valuable insights to the government for effective policy formulation and support. 

Palladium also catalyzes investments in FPOs by forging partnerships with various organizations, including financial institutions and private sector companies. These partnerships offer FPOs critical resources, such as financing for the procurement and sale of agricultural products, strengthening their value chains and contributing to greater financial stability.

2. How Palladium is enhancing the agricultural landscape of India and the overall livelihood of farmers?

Palladium India is at the forefront of transforming the Indian agricultural landscape, to enhance the overall well-being of smallholders. By strategically addressing key challenges in the sector, we empower farmers to achieve sustainable growth. We collaborate with state governments to establish a supportive ecosystem, offering Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) capacity-building training at various levels, fostering market linkages, and securing investments to strengthen FPO value chains. Additionally, Palladium promotes sustainable agricultural practices, such as climate-resilient agriculture and precision farming, while extending its interventions to encompass sustainable livelihoods.

Furthermore, Palladium actively engages in policy advocacy, conducting research, fostering stakeholder collaboration, and building the capacity of policymakers. Through this holistic approach, Palladium India is making a substantial impact, empowering farmers and contributing to a more equitable and sustainable future for Indian agriculture.

3. Tell us about some of your recent projects in the agriculture sector.

Palladium is impaneled by NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) and NAFED as a Cluster-based Business Organization (CBBO) under the Central Sector Scheme, actively supporting 30 FPOs in Odisha, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. Focused on creating a sustainable ecosystem for income-oriented farming and socio-economic development, Palladium’s expertise in market linkages and capacity building ensures FPO sustainability and compliance. Recognized by the National Project Management Agency (NPMA), Palladium achieved a 2nd ranking in Odisha for 2021-22. Impact highlights include 30 registered FPOs, 14 receiving equity grants, a 17%-18% increase in farmer income, 51% women as FPO leaders, and training over 250 FPO Board of Directors in business skills.

Under the Farmer Producer Organizations Promotion and Stabilization scheme, Palladium served as the Technical Support Unit for the Department of Horticulture and played a crucial role in fostering stakeholder collaboration and enhancing FPO business capacities. Palladium introduced a unique market system development methodology that encouraged private sector engagement, empowering farmers to efficiently meet market demands. The impact has been significant, with over 600 FPOs benefiting, 400+ FPOs successfully registered on eNAM, and a remarkable 152% increase in the value of crop trading. Government schemes have provisioned over INR 1,000 Crore for the promotion of FPOs, and institutional buyers have contributed more than INR 40 Crore. Notably, farmers have realized a 12%-18% higher price, showcasing the tangible success of Palladium’s transformative efforts in fortifying the FPO ecosystem. Due to the successful completion of phase one of the project, Palladium has now been engaged for the second phase (PSFPO 2.0) with a mission to efficiently utilize public and private sector capital to accelerate business growth for Farmer Producer Organizations and increase integration with better markets and access to formal credit support.

Other than this, we are also working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the North-Eastern Region (NER) for the efficient utilization of public and private capital to enable Producer Enterprises to move up the value chain and integrate better with markets.

4. What are your key priorities for the next 12-15 months?

Our key priorities for the upcoming 12-15 months are to transform the agri-market systems in India by accelerating business growth for the FPOs through mobilization of private sector engagement, increasing engagement of FPOs in online/e-commerce market systems, and eventually increasing state average annual business turnover for the FPOs.

We look forward to working with the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha, Ministry of Development of North East Region (MDONER), NABARD, and NAFED to catalyze the transformation of the agriculture and allied sectors in Odisha, North-Eastern Region (NER), Gujarat and Maharashtra respectively by integrating producer enterprises, FPOs and local entrepreneurs into market systems to drive surplus creation and achieve higher price realization through the development of business models to foster an ecosystem centered around producer enterprises that can leverage local entrepreneurial talent, available public funds in the form of government schemes and programs, and work closely with the private sector to move up the value chain while exploring novel areas of income generation.

We are committed to addressing the needs of FPOs across every state in India, where they eagerly await opportunities for the crucial support necessary to flourish. Our approach is not bound by geographical constraints as we possess the capacity to effectively implement projects on the ground in every corner of the country.

Also Read: Farmer must learn to market his produce: Vice President Dhankhar

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