Government of Assam signs MoU with Caspian Impact Investment Adviser to Launch an SME Investment Fund to Boost Agricultural Growth and Employment

With a corpus of INR 250 crore, the fund aims to strengthen the rural ecosystem, foster agricultural productivity and increase employment opportunities in the state through risk capital investments in SMEs

New Delhi/ Guwahati, 27th June 2023: 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 the state of 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 INR 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.

Shri Akash Deep, IAS, 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.”

Shri 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.”

Shri Saurabh Johri, 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. Mr. Ravi Narasimham, Investment Director, Caspian, will lead the fund and we look forward to build on partnership with ARIAS 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”.

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