The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contracted MSC to design, develop and scale agriculture, horticulture, and livestock market systems in Bihar. The goal of the program was to achieve inclusive agricultural transformation through the rural livelihood mission of the Government of Bihar—JEEViKA, and its state-wide network of a million-plus women’s self-help groups and women-led farmer collectives and producer organizations. MSC collaborated extensively with a range of public and private sector institutions, and agritech and fintech innovators, to drive high-impact interventions across the three core focus areas of the program: (a) Agriculture market systems, (b) Livestock systems, and (c) Data systems.
MSC introduced innovations, partnerships, technologies and sustainable business models to strengthen critical agriculture, horticulture and livestock value chains in the state of Bihar. These include wheat, paddy, pulses, bananas, mangoes, litchi, vegetables, oilseeds, fox nuts, small ruminants and poultry. The program achieved access to diversified institutionalized markets, and enhanced price-realization for over 10,000 metric tons of agricultural and horticultural commodities produced by small-scale producers. It has also enabled access to over 700 metric tons of low-cost, better quality and timely inputs (such as seeds, fertilisers, vegetable kits and other farm-inputs) to small-scale producers and their households.
As part of this intervention, MSC supported producer collective organizations (FPOs and FPCs) in hedging more than 3,000 metric tons of agricultural produce through commodity futures and options of a leading commodities exchange. This was the highest level of derivative commodity hedging and price risk mitigation undertaken by any FPO in India during 2020. The program simultaneously helped the FPOs and their SSP members unlock 10% higher value.
The program drove increased adoption of technologies and innovations, including digital farmer services. It improved linkages to structured markets for small-scale producers and reduced the impact of seasonal volatility on production and prices. It provided access to accurate and low-cost quality assaying tools and services, infrastructure and asset deployment, and capacity building to undertake primary processing and other near-farm-gate value addition, among others.