NEW DELHI, 28 September 2020: Aquaculture startup Aquaconnect launches a full-stack technological intervention AquaCRED. This aims to bring a formal financial network to small and medium aquaculture farmers by working on risk assessment based financing strategy.
AquaCRED initiative facilitates BFSI players to extend their services across the value chain and thus ensure easy formal credit availability to the farmers.
India is one of the largest aquaculture producers in the world that produces about $17 billion worth of fishes and shrimp production with more than 90 percent of produce coming from small/medium-size farmers. However, access to formal finance still remains a challenge as the majority of them lack access to formal credit to purchase key inputs at critical junctures in the aquaculture cycle.
It enables this financial inclusion by combining ‘eyes in the sky’ (secondary data from satellite remote sensing solutions) and ‘boots on the ground’ (primary data from pond’s samples) through machine learning. It also brings transparency and predictability to the entire process, thereby lowering risks & solving associated problems for the BFSI segment transforming the industry. With this, the company enables the aquaculture farmers to access formal finance and avail credits to buy farm inputs and other farming requirements.
“In my view, the biggest impediment for the growth of the aquaculture sector is the lack of data and the absence of formal finance. While it is a multi-billion dollar ecosystem, Indian banks, financial service providers and insurers are staying away from this opportunity due to the lack of data and credit risk assessment framework," Aquaconnect Founder and CEO Rajamanohar Somasundaram said.
AquaCRED offers risk management solutions to BFSI stakeholders for enabling underwriting and asset monitoring capabilities through GIS remote sensing and machine learning technology stack. At the farmer front, credible data profiles create a huge opportunity for fish and shrimp farmers to access formal finance with low interest and reduce the dependency on informal lenders”, Somasundaram added.
A lack of data-driven risk-mitigation strategy makes it almost impossible for BFSI institutions to extend their products to various stakeholders within the value chain, especially farmers who bear the maximum risk.
Limited access to formal credit leads to a higher dependency on informal lenders such as feed &, farm-care product retailers, traders, etc. Eventually, in comparison to formal credit-based interest rates, they pay very high annualized interest thereby leading to a reduction in farm income for the farmers.
According to Amit Salunkhe, VP - Sales, Aquaconnect, “Our goal at AquaConnect is to turn data into information & information into actionable insights for Banks, Financial intuitions & Insurance companies, thereby empowering them to invest in the growth of aquaculture farmers and eventually within the industry itself. AquaCRED is going to be the single most important key which shall successfully bridge the gap between BFSI institutions and Fish & Shrimp Farmers”
Headquartered in Chennai, Aquaconnect was co-founded by Rajamanohar Somasundaram in 2017. The company boast of being a full-stack aquaculture technology venture that works with shrimp and fish aquaculture farmers to improve their farm productivity and market linkage through AI and satellite remote sensing technology.
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