unites industry leaders at RITH-Climate Summit ’23 to advance sustainable farming practices

Bengaluru, 20th December 2023 – The RITH-Climate Summit ’23, organised by, India’s largest and only profitable integrated grain commerce platform, in partnership with Bayer Foundation India, brought together leaders from diverse sectors in its first edition. The summit, organised in Delhi, was a landmark event that brought together representatives from 45 diverse farmer producer organisations (FPOs), including women-led FPOs from various Indian states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana.

The one-day RITH Climate Summit ’23 witnessed the culmination of ideas to improve the competitiveness of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) by emphasising climate-resilient and regenerative farming practices, addressing challenges encountered by small and marginal farmers, particularly in resource access and dealing with the effects of climate change. Shri Franklin L. Khobung, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, graced the RITH-Climate Summit ’23 with his esteemed presence, elevating the event’s importance.

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Photo caption: Prasanna Rao, CEO and Co-Founder at

Prasanna Rao, CEO&CO-Founder of, stated, “The RITH-Climate Summit ’23, organised by, represents a pivotal stride in our commitment to empowering farmers. Recently, as part of a comprehensive study conducted by the Development Finance Corporation (DFC), we looked at our presence in climate-stressed regions across India and realised the crucial challenges being faced by our farmers. By uniting industry leaders, experts, and diverse farmer producer organisations from across India, we aim to catalyse a transformative dialogue on incentivising sustainable farming practices by creating market-led ecosystems.”

Rith means ecological balance and the event was designed to feature a range of panelists and representatives from the industry, farm verticals, development sector and the government. The discussions centred around creating market-led ecosystems, strengthening relationships between FPOs, and leveraging technology for sustainable agricultural practices.

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Photo caption: Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala served as the Chairman of the National Bank for Agriculture from 2013 to 2020. He has been the executive chairman of Capital India Finance Limited, an India-focused, integrated financial services company, since August 2020. Dr. Bhanwala also brings invaluable expertise to various boards, such as Bayer CropScience Limited and the Microfinance Industry Network (MFIN), where he serves as a Non-Executive Independent Director.

The panel discussions featured insights on “challenges in transitioning to climate-resilient production” with Aman Pannu (DCM Shriram Foundation), Arun Pandhi (Tata Trusts), Sugandhi Vishwakarma (Korku Farmer Producer Company), S.S Bhat (FWWB India), and Prof. V. Padmanand (Grant Thornton) moderated by Amit Kumar (UNDP).

The “Actionising Climate Goals” panel explored corporate-grassroots connections, including perspectives from Manek Gupta (Viterra), Neelesh Rathod (White Gold Farmer Producer Company Limited), Rajiv Yadav (Agrocorp India Trade Services Pvt Limited), Rajvir Rathi, Director (Bayer Crop Science) and Uday Anand (Parijat Industries) moderated by Sarita Bahl (Bayer Foundation India). “Productive Convergences,” moderated by Dr. Sudheer K Goel (Agriculture and Marketing, Govt. of Maharashtra), discussed winning examples with Amrendra Mishra (ADM), Swapnil Pawar (ASQI), Shailesh Kumar (Britannia), Dr. Ratna Kumria (FSII) and Vinod Beniwal (Shakti Vardhak Farmer Producer Company Ltd), Vijaysekar Kalavakonda (IFC) moderated “Harmonising Stakeholder Roles,” involving Anupam Barik (Patanjali), Dheeraj Mutreja, (Rabo Foundation), Dr. KC Gummagolmath (MANAGE), Smriti Das (XLRI) and Sunil Kumar (Synergy Technofin Pvt Ltd.). These discussions aimed to address challenges and promote sustainable models for climate resilience.

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Photo caption: from left to right: Prasanna Rao, CEO and Co-founder,; Ms. Rachna Panda, Country Group Head, Communication and Public Affairs & Sustainability for Bayer South Asia; Shri. Manoj Ahuja, Hon’ble Secretary, MoA&FW; Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Ms Sarita Bahl, Head of corporate social responsibility at Bayer; Anand Chandra, Co-founder and executive director at

The synergistic partnership between forward-thinking corporations such as Bayer, and the dynamic Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) is pivotal in propelling the agenda of sustainable farming to new heights. Our shared initiatives not only exemplify our commitment but also serve as a resounding testament to the unwavering dedication we bring to the noble cause of fostering a sustainable and resilient agricultural landscape for the benefit of present and future generations – said Sarita Bahl – Director – Bayer Foundation India

“Strengthening farmers’ awareness of the importance of embracing climate-resilient agriculture can be accomplished by reinforcing agricultural extension services. The existing lack of knowledge regarding climate-resilient practices emphasises the necessity for enhanced outreach and education in this field.” said Dr Sudheer K Goel – IAS, Former Addtl. Chief Secretary – Agriculture and Marketing, Govt. of Maharashtra.

Encouraging farmers to adopt change could involve a government-driven policy initiative, providing working capital to Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). Additionally, private collaborators could play a role in developing green technologies, while aggregators could facilitate the convergence of market players and farmers on a unified platform – said Amit Kumar – Head of Sustainable and Inclusive Growth at UNDP. remains committed to its mission of supporting farmers and advancing sustainable agricultural practices. The outcomes of the RITH- Climate Summit ’23 will pave the way for more collaborative efforts and innovations in the agricultural sector.

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