Providing Consultancy and Advisory Services Across Agriculture & Allied Areas and Rural Development
For a developing country like India, with a significant portion of its rural populace dependent on-agricultural and farm activities, the two cornerstones of prominent growth are ‘Agriculture and Rural Development’. The cardinal role played by these two aspects in the development of our country cannot be over looked as the rural & agricultural sectors are the prime locus of survival for the respective masses. Nowadays, Agricultural Advisory Services are ensuring the flow of the imperative information to enhance the welfare of farmers as well as rural commonalty. Such consulting services ensure improved agricultural productivity, environmentally sustainable production methodologies, high-value to the farmers, and much more, as it has evolved from its conventional role at present. But, a myriad of challenges persists in the respective industry that requires our utmost attention.
Leveraging unique techniques to bridge multiple gaps in this domain, NABCONS embarked on a journey 18 years ago to propel agriculture and rural development in India.
NABCONS emanated from an apex development financial institution- NABARD in 2003. NABCONS has emerged as India’s premier consultancy and advisory service provider that addresses needs and gaps in the agriculture and allied sectors in the country and abroad as well. This wholly-owned auxiliary of NABARD is striving to maintain synchrony among water, forests, climate and agriculture while leading at the forefront by acknowledging its responsibility to add value to the society and ensuring sustainable development.
Forging ahead with the motto- ‘Wisdom Beyond Business’, NABCONS is ensuring its state-of-the-art services in strategic spheres of agriculture and allied sectors, food processing, rural infrastructure, climate change, international business, banking and; finance, natural resource management, micro-enterprises and more.It is making a mark in each of these sectors with its more than 2500 assignments to the credit, 300-full-time workforce, a committed team of over 500 multi-disciplinary experts and subject-matter enlisted specialists, and exemplary strategies in planning and execution of projects, it is effortlessly catering to the requirements of its over 400 clients.
NABCONS’s remarkable nationwide presence testifies for its years of enriched experience and expertise in the industry. Its footprint is spread across India with its Corporate office at New Delhi, Zonal Offices at Mumbai, Hyderabad and Guwahati and 29 Principal Consultant’s Offices across all States.
Leading NABCONS at the forefront- Shri K Venkateswara Rao
The Managing Director of NABCONS, Shri K Venkateswara Rao is a Post-Graduate from Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. He has served NABARD for more than three decades and possesses an extensive professional experience in the assessment of various farm and non-farm sector projects, potential linked Credit Plans, District Credit Plans, Area Development, Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Joint Liability Groups, Micro-Finance Institutions, Farmers’ Producer Organization and also Supervision of Banks viz. RRBs and Rural Cooperative Banks. Moreover, he has also been associated as Board Member with many government organisations for different programs like Nominee Director of NABARD on Chaitanya Gramin Bank, Andhra Pradesh and Director of NABKISAN Finance Ltd. Chennai, Member Secretary to the Board of Supervision for RRBs and Cooperative Banks.
Shri Rao has infused a business philosophy in the organization where clients are the topmost priority. He asserts that as a consultancy organization, they have to visualize the future of a client’s business and also acknowledge the client’s requirements. Keeping that in view, they bargain between these two facets and strive to ensure client’s contentment. NABCONS strategic technique assures to guide ideas of clients by offering concrete examples of elevating business. He firmly upholds a view that any disruption in the existing system is an opportunity to assist the clientele for an enhanced experience by watering their sprouting business ideas.
Under the aegis of an industry expert- Shri Rao, NABCONS is scaling greater heights and making its significant presence felt across the domain. Furthermore, Shri Rao considers consultancy as a subtle business that requires aggressive marketing and his committed team resonates with this perception incessantly.
Highlighting the core values infused in the organization, Shri Rao reveals, Our core values are inclined towards bridging the gap between agriculture and industry. We have envisioned to serve these two aspects and empower them with our strategic techniques. Additionally, our organization’s culture has derived from our parent organization- NABARD. We aspire to move ahead by taking its legacy forward and expand its horizons in future. Moreover, we endeavour to serve our major clients- farmers! All our objectives are majorly inclined towards empowering the farmers and exploring the scopes in the relevant areas.
Motivation behind inception
Shri Rao elucidates that the objective to commence this venture was to primarily focus on enhancing the agricultural sector by providing adaptive and effective consulting services at the marginal costs to their clients. Acknowledging the gap in this industry, NABCONS aspires to align its business sphere towards evolving dynamics of niche sectors under seven major verticals-Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (AAH), Food Processing & Storage (FPS), Third Party Monitoring & Infrastructure (TPM), International Business & Climate change (IBCC), Skills for livelihood, Banking & Finance (B& F) and Socio-economic Studies (SES).
All these business verticals get staunch support by divergent service verticals such as Business Development, HR, IT, Corporate affairs, General Administration, Accounts , GIS Cell and Civil Engineering.
Worth a Glance clientele
Since its incorporation, NABCONS has been catering to several ministries of Government of India, namely, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’Welfare, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of External Affairs; all State Governments; Statutory bodies/corporations/agencies like NITI Aayog, Reserve Bank of India, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM), Small Farmers & Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), CCI Power Grid, Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA), Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Forward Market Commission, National Collateral Management Services Limited (NCML), Central Rail side Warehouse Company Limited (CRWC), Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED), Institute of Cooperative Management (ICM), Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education; Public Sector clients like Commercial Banks and Private Banks; Corporates like Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Jindal Steel, DCM Shriram, Adani Foundation, Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO), HINDALCO and International clients like Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Department for International Development (DFID), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and many International Banks.
Furthermore, Shri Rao asserts that the NABCONS has also been empanelled with multi-lateral organizations like EXIM Bank, WDRA, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) and various ministries like Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Rural Development, and Ministry of Women & Child Development, and various State governments and other agencies for guiding assignments in the relevant industry.
Insights on the significance of R&D
Shri Rao asserts that Research & Development is the crux for any organization and especially for consultancy companies or economic analysis centres, this segment plays an imperative role in terms of exemplary growth. NABCONS ensures to maintain synchrony with this segment by maintaining the database on the sundry of their functional areas. In this respect, they ensure the primary collection of the data for various projects as per their sizes. So, this survey with the help of an appropriate questionnaire helps them develop statistical techniques to analyse this data and then, to derive a conclusion concerning any project.
R&D helps them to understand the future requirements and modifications for the schemes proposed by the clients in any area. He believes there is a need of the database beside the primary survey and they have to utilize the services of economists and mathematicians to present the reports and substantiate the outcomes of the study. Undoubtedly, this area majorly contributes to the growth of the organization.
Testimony of their ascendancy
Shri Rao speaks that the global pandemic has adversely impacted the world and most economic activities are at halt since April-May 2020 due to subsequent chain of nationwide lockdowns. Though, he believes the agriculture sector is the bright spot that is set to cushion the impacts on other sectors.
“To improve the prevailing turbulent economic environment and to provide a boost to the ailing economy the government announced the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, a financial package of Rs 20 lakh crore equaling to 10% of the national GDP. NABCONS has realigned itself to work with the GoI in these emerging areas like TOP to TOTAL (Operations Green), PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme, Knowledge Partner Agency in Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, Study on Post-Harvest Losses of Agri and allied sector, Farmers Producer Organization, etc.” continues the MD.
NABCONS has also been at the forefront of the skilling arena since 2009-10. It has been engaged by Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India as Central Technical Support Agency (CTSA) under Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), conducted 500+ training & capacity building programmes and successfully covered more than 1 lakh beneficiaries in a single survey across India. Additionally, it is also engaged as a technical support agency to Himayat Mission in Jammu and Kashmir.
NABCONS has undertaken some prestigious assignments in areas, namely, Agricultural/ Rural credit, Climate change, Agricultural & allied sectors, Food Processing & Storage, Micro-finance/Livelihoods, Financial inclusion/Financial literacy, watershed, cooperatives, project appraisal, agro-processing, post-harvest technologies, farmers clubs and more.
One of the important international assignments contracted by NABCONS is setting up of an India-Africa Institute for Agriculture and Rural Development at Lilongwe, Malawi for MEA, GOI. The broader activities of international business are feasibility studies/Detailed Project Reports, capacity building, exposure visits for delegates from various African & Asian countries, especially banks like Vietnam Bank for Agricultural & Rural Development, Development Bank of Ethiopia, Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN) Nigeria, Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB), Bank of Uganda, Asian Development Bank, Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), Dhaka and others. Leveraging the climate expertise, NABCONS is implementing a project in Afghanistan for supporting NIE Accreditation through the South-South Cooperation Grant of the AF. Also, NABCONS has signed MoUs with international/bilateral agencies, has an active presence in international seminars, trade & Investment forums; discussions with Ministry of External Affairs and ambassadors from various countries like Angola, Congo, Costa Rica to name a few.
Expanding the horizons
NABCONS foresees fresh opportunities across various sectors emerging out of ‘post-COVID new normal scenario’ and has contracted assignments like Geotagging of Agri-Storage Infrastructure, Enterprise Architecture, setting up of GIS cell, Mandi Management Information System in HP, etc. Additionally, the organization has revitalized its IT infrastructure to sync with the demands of different industries.
NABCONS published a compendium on “Innovative Business Models emerging through COVID19” that was released through a Webinar graced by Shri Parshottam bhai Rupala, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers and was attended by around 600 delegates from leading corporates, FPOs, Bank officials, senior officers of NABARD, etc.
NABCONS has also ventured in one of the promising sectors- Animal husbandry and Fisheries Sectors. Some of its major contracts in this sphere are DPR preparation of Anti-rabies vaccine unit in Kerala, Establishing Advanced Institute for Integrated Research on Livestock and Animal Sciences by Govt. of Tamil Nadu, etc. Moreover, the organization has also recognized the untapped potential in the area of Water Resources Information System (WRIS) and offered a solution for comprehensive, authoritative and consistent data & information of respective state’s water resources with relevant tools.
Intending to provide safe and adequate potable water to rural India, NABCONS has bagged major assignment to enhance the infrastructure for ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’. Here, they will be preparing DPR for Multi Village Scheme/Project (under this mission) in Rajasthan and among other states as well.
Resonating with NABARD’s mission to ensure rural prosperity, NABCONS has more than just commercial interest in the consultancy assignments it undertakes. NABARD’s structures and processes have always been the guiding light for NABCONS. Shri Rao reveals, “We have come a long way since our inception using our years of experience, adaptation to the dynamic market scenario, continuous skill enhancement of employees, technology-based tools to perform the assignment and diversification in the consultancy sector.”
Unveiling the future outlook for NABCONS, Shri Rao states that there are three major areas that they target to intervene-The tribal development, The Integrated Water- Shed Development programs and Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO). And out of all, FPO is the preferred scheme where the company would endeavor to seek new business avenues.
We are aware of the fact that technology will be leading all the industrial segments in the future,including agriculture as well. Generation Z has witnessed phenomenal technologies, be it mobile applications or vivid online portals and more is yet to come. For substantial growth, synchrony with technology is crucial. Keeping this into consideration, by 2021, NABCONS aspires to come forward with IoT Agriculture Projects for the farmers. Shri Rao emphasizes that the utilization of technology to elevate the condition of our farmers is the need of the hour and the organisation would be intensely focused on coming up with the latest technological advancements to add value in the industry. He has anticipated that soon the organisation will become a major player in the consulting arena of the country. Moreover, NABCONS would be driven by innovative instincts, better operational efficiency and mindful strategies. It also strives to venture in emerging sectors like multiple demanding sectors like GIS, Renewable Energy, International business (especially African countries), IoT in Agriculture, Digital transformation, Blockchain technology, Enterprise Architecture in IT, Agri-tech advisory services, Digital mapping, IT Risk Assurance, Cyber security consultancy services, etc.