In order to provide lending products and services to the farmers by leveraging ITC‘s agricultural ecosystem, Axis Bank has partnered with the Agri-Business Division of the company. The Bank hopes to meet the financial needs of unserved and underserved farmers in the country’s remote rural areas through this collaboration. Among the products that will be available are farmer loans and gold loans.
The collaboration will enable Axis Bank to reach out to the farmers and address their agricultural needs by leveraging ITCMAARS (Meta Market for Advanced Agricultural Rural Services), a full-stack agritech application. Furthermore, it will enable Axis Bank to provide a diverse range of products and services through its semi-urban branches located in 656 Indian districts.
Highlighting the collaboration, Munish Sharda, Group Executive & Head, Bharat Banking, Axis Bank, said, “This collaboration is in line with our bank’s Bharat Banking mission of expanding our reach into remote areas and providing a seamless customer experience. We believe that by leveraging ITCMAARS’ strong and long-standing relationships with millions of farmers, we can make a significant contribution to improving the community’s financial situation.”
Rajnikant Rai, Divisional Chief Executive, Agri-Business Division, ITC said, “ITC has led multifaceted interventions to improve farmers’ lives over the years, aided by the ITC e-Choupal ecosystem, which connects with over 4 million farmers. We have now put in place ITCMAARS, a phygital ecosystem that offers a variety of solutions via hyperlocal and personalised advisory, agri-inputs, financial services, and market linkages. We are excited to collaborate with Axis Bank to provide banking solutions to the farmers we have worked with over the years.”
ITCMAARS was launched in July 2022 to provide farmers with agricultural and allied services via a digital platform. The app was launched in seven states, with over 40,000 farmers organised into over 200 farmer produce organisations (FPOs) along four value chains: wheat, paddy, soybean and chilli. The group intends to take it to 4,000 FPOs and 10 million farmers in the future.
Axis Bank intends to expand its rural banking strategy by increasing new-to-bank accounts in FY23 through this initiative. As of December 31st, 2022, its rural advances had increased by 27 per cent year on year (YoY), disbursements had increased by 12 per cent YoY, and deposits had increased by 16 per cent YoY.
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