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May 11, 2012

Deal Alert: Acumen Fund invests Rs.9-Cr in agri services firm Basix Krishi

Acumen Fund, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia and across Africa, today announced an equity investment of INR 9 crores (~$2M) in BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Limited (BASIX Krishi).

BASIX Krishi delivers productivity enhancing extension services—such as soil testing, seed treatment, vermicomposting, pest management and good harvesting practices for crop farmers; and livestock vaccination, para-vet services, fodder demonstration and milk market linkages for dairy farmers. The company provides this service to its customers through a network of trained Livelihood Service Providers who visit each customer at least twice per month. Incorporated as a public limited company in April 2010, BASIX Krishi is part of the BASIX Social Enterprise Group promoted by Vijay Mahajan, an accomplished social entrepreneur who is considered a pioneer in the areas of financial inclusion and rural livelihood promotion.

“The BASIX Krishi model can increase smallholder farmer incomes by an estimated 30% through a combination of improved productivity and reduced input costs,” said Siddharth Tata, Acumen Fund’s Agriculture Portfolio Manager. “In addition to helping improve farmer livelihoods, this investment allows us to build on our knowledge base in the agri-inputs sector, providing valuable insights into how smallholder farmers make decisions on improving their farm productivity.”

Of the more than 100 million farms operating in India, nearly 85% are managed by smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land. Most of these farmers have no access to quality extension services, making it very hard to access simple tools and engage in practices that help improve farm productivity.

“Acumen Fund’s investment will help us scale BASIX Krishi’s activities to 67 branches serving nearly 350,000 farmer customers over the next two years,” said Arijit Dutta, CEO, BASIX Krishi. “Through our model, farmers receive personal visits from trained extension workers who support their productivity needs and provide on-call assistance for any questions or emergencies. Eventually, we envision a world in which all smallholder farmers have access to agricultural extension services that empower them to improve their own lives.”

For additional information on Acumen Fund India and its investment in Basix Krishi or in the Agriculture sector, please visit www.acumenfund.org or contact Molly Alexander at malexander@acumenfund.org

About Acumen Fund
Acumen Fund is working to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders and breakthrough ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen Fund has globally invested more than $75 million in 65 companies. In India, we have approved and invested over $30 million in 24 enterprises that have provided over 10 million low-income individuals access to water, health, energy, and agricultural services. We are also working to build a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy. Please visit www.acumenfund.org for more information.

About BASIX Krishi
BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Ltd (Basix Krishi) is a BASIX Group company, and was incorporated in April 2010. Basix Krishi trains and employs a network of Livelihood Service Providers (LSPs) who provide services that enhance farmers’ productivity and reduce the cost of cultivation, thereby increasing farmers’ overall income. The services cover a wide range- vaccination, de-worming, fodder management for livestock and soil testing, vermicomposting, pest management for crops.