British International Investment

Ulink AgriTech Private Limited

South AsiaFood & Agriculture

ULink AgriTech Private Limited provides a technology platform to farmers. The company offers data analysis, farm management, price information, and other services to customers in India.

This investment was made when British International Investment was named CDC Group.

Our investment

Description of the investment.

Our investment will increase economic opportunities for farmers in India, through improved access to agri inputs, advisory services, and access to output services.

Impact information

Applies to investments made from 2019 onwards. The tabs in this section define what we expect to achieve through the investment, assessing the potential impact of the investment against six dimensions of impact. You can find more details on our methodology of assessing impact here.

What?

Impact

Economic opportunities: Create rural economic opportunities (SDG 8.5).

How?

Primary Secondary
  • Improving farmers’ yields through last mile delivery of quality inputs, and online/onsite agronomy advisory services.
  • Creating rural jobs through expansion of operations.

Supporting jobs through expansion of agri-clinics/franchisee.

Who?

Stakeholder Geography Characteristics
Farmers

Baseline: AgroStar operations are across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh. INI farms primarily operate across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka. Expected: Operations likely to expands to 10 more states in next five years.

  • 45 per cent of AgroStar farmers belong to bottom 60 per cent of India’s population.
  • 70-80 per cent of INI farmers own less than three hectares of land.
  • New model is expected to increase the reach to lower-income farmers.
Employees and franchisees

Baseline: AgroStar operations are across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh. INI farms primarily operate across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka. Expected: Operations likely to expands to 10 more states in next five years.

  • AgroStar: 30 per cent of employees are women and approximately 70 per cent are lower income.
  • INI farms: approximately 25 per cent of employees are women.

How much?

Scale Depth/Duration

Baseline (2021): 1.2 million individual transacting farmers through AgroStar platform. Approximately 3-3.5k farmers transacting with INI currently annually (5k on the platform) Expected (2026): 6.6 million + transacting farmers.

Baseline (2021): AgroStar - 1228 headcount; 23 jobs through agri-clinics. INI farms - 150 headcount. Expected (2026): 3,098 headcount; approximately 773 jobs through agri-clinics

Farmers benefits:

AgroStar led to 26 per cent input cost savings, 28 per cent yield increase, 15 per cent higher prices.

INI farms monitors and reports reduction in wastage which is approximately 2 per cent.

Farmers typically report increase in income of 30-40 per cent by working with INI.

Contribution/additionality

Contribution/additionality
  • Value additionality: Our commitment will further enable the company to successfully scale up, expand their geographic footprint and build a full stack offering for farmers.

Grid score

Grid Score

To help us direct our investments, we previously used a tool called the Development Impact Grid. It scored investments out of four, based on two factors: the difficulty of investing in a country and the propensity of the sector to generate employment. This tool was used for investments until the end of 2021. Since 2022 it has been replaced by the Impact Score.

2.68

Risk

Stakeholder Participation Risk
  • Farmer indebtedness if AgroStar products are unaffordable.
Unexpected Impact Risk
  • Farmers data protection. AgroStar currently collects 200+ farmers data points. We have identified areas of improvement which will be tracked through the company's reports to BII.
Unexpected Impact Risk
  • Responsible marketing practices: Risk that AgroStar overpromises yield improvement to farmers that cannot be guaranteed or conflict of interest between the agronomy advice provided and the inputs sold to farmers. Contracts with large supplier give comfort that the risk is low.

Environmental and social information

  • Environmental and social summary

    A high-level description of the environmental and social aspects of the investment. This may include a summary of key environmental and social risks identified during environmental and social due diligence (ESDD); key elements of an environmental and social action plan (ESAP); or ways in which we plan to support the investee improve environmental and social standards, such as through their environmental and social management system (ESMS); as well as any other priority areas agreed with the investee.

  • Environmental and social risk

    A risk category rating, which indicates the level of environmental and social risk associated with an investment. For an explanation of the categorisations used, see here. We consistently provide an environmental and social risk category for all investments screened from 2023 onwards.

Environmental and social summary

We partnered with our fund manager to co-invest in this company, including by relying on our fund manager's ESDD.

Reporting and Complaints Mechanism

The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism allows anyone outside BII to report alleged breaches of the business integrity or environmental and social provisions of BII’s Policy on Responsible Investing. This includes breaches made by BII, a BII investee, or a portfolio company of a fund in which BII has invested. The Reporting and Complaints Mechanism Rules are available here. Reports and complaints can be submitted by email to [email protected] or by mail. See more details on our Reporting and Complaints Mechanism here.

For any other general enquiries contact us at [email protected]

  • Key facts

    Last updated

    When the last quarterly update of the website database occurred.

    :
    June 2024
    Project number

    An identifier number shared by investments in the same project.

    :
    D5159
    Status

    The current status of the investment (green flag for active and red flag for exited).

    :
    Active
    Region

    The geographical region where the country is located. We currently invest in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia and the Caribbean. In 2023, BII’s investment mandate was extended allowing it to invest in regional funds linked to Ukraine, with the majority of activity expected to begin post-war. Investments outside these regions were made prior to 2012 under previous investment mandates.

    :
    South Asia
    Country

    The countries where the investment delivers impact. Where impact is delivered in multiple countries, this is indicated.

    :
    India
    Sector

    We prioritise those sectors that facilitate development and need our capital the most. Our priority sectors contribute towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They range from investing in the power infrastructure that will provide people with better access to electricity, to investing in financial institutions that direct capital to the individuals and businesses that need it the most.

    :
    Food & Agriculture

    We provide capital in the following ways: directly – through direct equity, direct debt, guarantees and other non-intermediated financial instruments; and indirectly – principally through investment funds.

    For direct investments and fund investments, this is the date BII committed capital to the investments. This is typically the date on which legal agreements are signed by all parties.

    For the portfolio companies of our fund investments, this is the date (either the month or the quarter) on which the fund committed capital to the portfolio company.

    For direct equity investments, this is the date at which British International Investment exited the investment.

    For debt investments, this is the date at which the final debt repayment was made.

    For funds, this is the date at which the fund was terminated.

    For underlying fund investments, this is the date at which the fund manager exited the investment.

    The total amount committed, per financial instrument, per investment, on the date BII becomes subject to a binding legal obligation to provide funding or assume a contingent liability. This information is provided in US dollars.

    For direct investments, this is the amount that BII has committed to the business or project. For fund investments, this is the amount BII has committed to the fund.

    The currency in which the investment was made.

    Investment type :
    Equity
    Start date :
    December 2021
    Amount :
    $5m
    Currency of investment :
    INR
    Domicile

    The company or investment fund’s place of incorporation.

    :
    India

Related investments made by BII into this company:

Investment name Commitment Region Sector Start date Status
Investment 02 $504.93k South Asia Food & Agriculture May 2023 Active

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