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GIF Catalyses Private Sector Strategic Capital

By Jocelyn Cheng, Senior Investment Director  |   Posted 28th April 2021

Kamatan, a company GIF initially invested in just last year, has now been acquired by Samunnati. Based in India, Kamatan is an agricultural technology startup that works with cooperatives called Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) to source produce for direct supply to agricultural enterprises, processors, and retailers. Kamatan helps these FPOs in procuring, storing, quality control and logistics and in doing so helps ensure better pricing for the farmers and reduce waste in the sector.

By investing in Kamatan, GIF’s objective was to enable the start-up to expand its operations and develop rural business hubs to further improve smallholder farmers’ price realization and profits. This acquisition by Samunnati will allow the Kamatan team to grow its reach to new FPOs, as well as small traders, farmer aggregators, and small- and medium-sized agriculture enterprises across India.

The role of catalytic capital at Kamatan

Enabled by GIF’s investment during the difficult early part of the 2020 Covid-19 crisis, Kamatan worked directly with 34 FPOs to source over 14,000 tons of produce from the 19,000 plus network farmers. These FPOs have been equipped with digital weighing scales and moisture meters to carry out a transparent assessment of quality and quantity. Despite being heavily impacted by the pandemic, Kamatan has been able to increase both business volumes and revenue significantly since the GIF investment.

Kamatan’s growth enabled by GIF’s investment capital attracted the attention of Samunnati, an agriculture finance and value chain company in India. Samunnati’s goal in the Kamatan acquisition is very much in line with GIF’s initial investment objective of driving higher smallholder farmer incomes by enhancing the combined market linkage outreach to FPOs, small traders, farmer aggregators and agriculture SMEs. The Kamatan acquisition is expected to accelerate Samunnati’s journey towards becoming a full spectrum agriculture solutions provider and consolidate its leadership position. The combined forces of the two companies are expected to provide geographical and operational synergies.

The Covid pandemic has highlighted the essential nature of the agriculture sector with the Indian agriculture sector growing 3 percent against a challenging macroeconomic backdrop in the 2020-2021 season. In the past year, changes in Indian governmental policies and loosened regulations have created controversies which sparked both farmer protests as well as the potential, others believe, to improve farmer incomes in the medium and long term. Regardless, the community-based organisations and Kamatan’s FPOs with their focus on aggregating smallholder farmers, will be critical in the continued growth of the Indian agriculture sector. The combination of Kamatan and Samunnati will continue the focus on smallholder farmers and help improving their productivity further.

According to Pravesh Sharma, co-founder and CEO of Kamatan, “The agri sector in India is poised at an inflection point with enormous potential for the emergence and growth of inclusive value chains, owing to the push for self-sufficiency. We are confident that our combined efforts will result in a bigger bouquet of services reaching a larger number of FPOs and agri enterprises and together we will create new milestones of growth in serving the needs of the agri community.”

Through the acquisition by Samunnati, Kamatan will continue to focus on GIF’s target beneficiaries, and we expect the combination to exceed GIF’s original impact-at-scale ambition and we project Kamatan will be able to partner with a significantly higher number of smallholder farmers than our initial estimates.

We are proud to have played a catalytic role in the Kamatan journey and excited to cheer on the combined Samunnati and Kamatan teams going forward.