APART would lay special focus on value addition in the production and post-harvest segments of selected agricultural commodity value-chains ; facilitate agribusiness investments through inclusive business models, that provide opportunities to small farmers as well as stimulate the establishment of new small & medium agribusiness enterprises; and support resilience of agriculture production systems in order to better-manage the increasing production and risks associated with climate change, in the targeted districts .
The project would adopt a cluster strategy, to generate economies of scale; promote vertical and horizontal links between local agricultural enterprises; enable diffusion of innovations; leverage network externalities; and channel public support for services and infrastructure. By adopting a cluster approach, project would enable all the value chain participants to develop competitive and innovative products that meet current market demands.
Project Development Objective (PDO) of APART is to “add value and improve resilience of selected agriculture value chains, focusing on smallholder farmers and agro-entrepreneurs in targeted districts of the State of Assam ” .The guiding principles of the project are: (i) focus on cluster approach to bring forth Assam’s comparative advantage to meet the growing domestic, regional and the potential international demand; (ii) increase private sector participation in the development of agriculture supply chains and markets; and (iii) improve public sector capacity in delivering climate resilient technology transfer and related support services.
The PDO be would be achieved by: (i) promoting investments in agri-enterprises, reducing the business and transaction costs, facilitating access to finance for agribusiness entrepreneurs, and, where appropriate, push for process, regulatory and/or policy change; (ii) supporting the development of a modern supply chain; improved information communication technologies (ICT) based farm information and intelligence services, and alternative marketing channels; and (iii) improving producer’s access to knowledge, technologies and infrastructure so that they are able to respond to market opportunities and climate variability. The detailed Project Implementation Plan (PIP) is under preparation by implementing agencies , and the broad outline of various components and sub-components of APART framed by the World Bank are:
(a) Component A: Enable Agri-Enterprise Development: The focus of this component to enhance the pace of agricultural enterprise growth and employment in the targeted districts. This would be done by establishing a cohesive institutional platform, and securing increased private sector investment in the development of value chains, processing and marketing in the targeted districts.
Enhancing state capacity to attract private investments: The project would support and strengthen the Assam Bureau of Investment Promotion (ABIP) to market investment opportunities in the state and provide promotion, facilitation and aftercare, in collaboration with other relevant structures. The project will also support the setting up Enterprise Development and Promotion Facility (EDPF) to foster and accelerate the growth of agro-processing sector, with specific focus on MSMEs;
Setting up of Agribusiness SME Fund: Establishment of Agribusiness SME fund to provide risk capital (equity) to MSMEs;
Establishing stewardship councils: for Milk, Fisheries, Piggery and sustainable market led climate resilient production
(b) Component B: Facilitate Agro-Cluster Development: The project will support enterprise clusters in Agro-processing. It will also support establishment of a modern supply chain from farm to market that would enable farmers and other value chain participants to access new markets. This would be done by enabling secondary and tertiary processing that creates higher value for the produce; supporting a supply chain infrastructure that prevents wastage and value erosion in transportation, and allows access to more distant markets; and supporting the development and up-gradation of basic and agriculture-specific infrastructure, including transportation linkages, warehousing capacity and wholesale market facilities.
Support establishment of Industry Association (IA): Anchored by District Industries & Commerce Centres (DICCs); through preparation and implementation of district agro-industrial development plans;
Supply chain infrastructure support to establish a modern supply chain: The project will support need based infrastructures in and around clusters such as modernizing & upgrading warehouses and Agriculture markets, common service platforms, road, power, etc.
(c) Component C: Market-led Production and Resilience Enhancement : The component is intended for enabling the farmers to take advantage of the rapidly changing consumer demand and enhance resilience of agriculture production systems and value-chain financing opportunities.
Developing climate resilient production clusters: Anchored by ATMA, this sub-component will include market led and climate smart diversification and intensification of production systems;
Common service centres (CSC) and market intelligence cell : This sub-component will focus on setting up farmer CSCs (managed by FPOs) for accessing input and output markets, implementing value-chain plans; improving value realization and adherence food safety norms through improved cleaning, grading and packing of produces. A Market Intelligence cell will also be set up for innovative production risk management;
Facilitating access and responsible use of financial services : Financial education & counselling, piloting electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipts, facilitating access to a broad set of financial services to farmers/farmer organizations in partnership with commercial Banks;
(d) Component D: Project Management, Monitoring and Learning : This component will ensure effective implementation of the project activities and monitor and evaluate project implementation progress, outputs and outcomes, building on implementation experience of Assam Agricultural Competitiveness Project (AACP). The component inter alia will support : (i) establishment and operations of a Project Coordination Unit (PCU), which will oversee and coordinate activities of the implementing agencies of the project; (ii) establishment and operations of Project Implementation Units in the respective implementing agencies; and (iii) setting up of a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for the project, including a project management information system, and contracting an external M&E agency to monitor project activities and impact.
Implementation arrangements: The project will monitored and coordinated by the ARIAS Society and will be implemented by the Departments of Industries & Commerce; Agriculture; Fisheries; A.H. & Veterinary; Cooperation; Public Works Roads; Handloom, Textiles & Sericulture, and Panchayat & Rural Development and the Assam Agricultural University. There will Core Project Implementation Units (CPIUs) at the Secretariat level and Operational PIU (OPIUs) at each of the Directorate/HOD level including the public agencies under them involved in the project.
District Level Coordination Committees (DLCCs): The DLCCs being notified for all the 16 undivided (as on 1st April. 2016) districts for monitoring and coordinating of the project activities in the respective districts. It will be headed by the DC and the ADC (Development) will be the Member Secy. The District Level officers of the implementing Agencies, representatives from the lead commercials banks in the District will be the members.