State Bank of India Caters to the needs of agriculturists and landless agricultural labourers through a network of 8750 rural and semi-urban branches. Apart from the branches, there are 428 Agricultural Development Branches (ADBs) which also cater to agriculturists. SBI is the leader in agri finance in the country with a portfolio of Rs. 64,000 crs in agri advances covering around 80 lac accounts.
SBI's branches have covered a whole gamut of agricultural activities like crop production, horticulture, plantation crops, farm mechanization, land development and reclamation, digging of wells, tube wells and irrigation projects, forestry, construction of cold storages and godowns, processing of agri-products, finance to agri-input dealers, allied activities like dairy, fisheries, poultry, sheep-goat, piggery and rearing of silk worms.
To give special focus to agriculture lending Bank has also appointed agri specialists in various disciplines to handle projects/ guide farmers in their agri ventures. Advances are given to borrowers for very small activities covering poorest of the poor to hitech activities involving large fund outlays.
Now SBI is setting up Agri Commercial Branches (ACBs) which will handle high value agri financing involving large investments. It envisages lending through corporate partnerships and other large enterprises for commodity financing, investment credit, other high value agriculture segments like horticulture, floriculture & food processing etc. It also focuses on Agri related SME including setting up of Rice and Dhal mills, seed processing industry, food processing industry, large and small scale dairy units, etc.
Traditionally, rural business is associated with agriculture and allied activities. Of late however, the trickle down effect of economic growth, renewed focus on infrastructure development, and employment generation in rural areas have led to huge investment by the Government in rural India, with a view to bridge the urban and rural divide.