Off Farm Sector

National Bank For Agriculture and Rural Development


Promotion of Off Farm Sector was embedded in the very mission statement of NABARD at the time of its inception.

Off Farm Sector assumes significance in the context of the ever pressing need for reducing rural India’s over dependence on agriculture for income by encouraging alternate livelihood options. Development of this sector also helps in arresting large-scale migration of small and marginal farmers and agricultural labourers to urban areas in search of livelihood opportunities on account of unemployment/ disguised employment in the agriculture sector.

NABARD, over the years, has evolved several refinance and promotional schemes for development of Off Farm Sector and has been making constant efforts to broad base and refine/rationalise its schemes in response to needs at the field level.

The focus has been on programmes which enables increased credit flow, provision of credit to the unreached, and provision of linkages for small, cottage and village industries, handloom, handicrafts and other rural crafts and service sector in rural areas.

Developing markets for the rural Off Farm Sector has been an area where NABARD has taken many initiatives. NABARD has also been actively involved in promoting innovations in rural areas in farm and Off Farm sectors by creating a separate fund for this purpose.

Why choose Us?

What we Do.

Over the last three decades, NABARD has designed several refinance and promotional schemes for development of Rural Off-Farm Sector and has been making constant efforts to broad base and refine them in response to field level needs. The focus has been on greater credit flow to the sector, provision of credit to the unreached and ensuring linkages for small, cottage and village industries, handloom, handicrafts and other crafts in the rural areas.

Why choose Us?

Our Mission.


OFDD Insights

Broad achievements of the Department at a National Level
Skill Development Initiatives of NABARD

The development of skills can contribute to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and labour productivity and helping countries to become more competitive. Investment in a high-quality workforce can create a virtuous cycle, where relevant and quality skills enable productivity growth and foreign direct investment, which result in more and better jobs for the current workforce and more public and private investment in the education and training system. This, in turn, increases the employability and productivity for both the current and future workforce.

NABARD has developed a structured approach for addressing the skill gap in rural India through multiple stakeholders in skill development ecosystem. NABSKILL portal (, the digital platform developed by NABARD has enabled complete digitisation of skill interventions, right from submission of applications, settlement of claims to effective implementation, monitoring/tracking, placement and building candidate-wise data.

Skill initiatives of NABARD are gender agnostic but are sensitive to address the unique skilling needs of the economically disadvantaged and socially backward sections of society. Reskilling, upskilling and multi-skilling are focus areas for skill development.

Off Farm Producer Organisation (OFPO)

Off Farm Producer Organizations are formal rural entities whose members are themselves producers like weavers and artisans, who organize themselves with the objective of improving their incomes through collective sourcing of inputs and raw material, improved production practices, designing, marketing, etc. OFPOs play an important role in promoting rural enterprises in handloom, handicraft and agro-processing sector so as to generate local employment through value addition, design innovation and development, processing, brand-building, creation of storage and logistics infrastructure, mechanization and development of technology plus strong forward and backward linkages. This ultimately brings in sustainable and inclusive development through collectivization and formalization.

The scheme for formation and nurturing of OFPOs was initiated during the year 2016-17. Under this, support is extended to an eligible entity to act as Producer Organization Promoting Institution (POPI) to mobilize rural off-farm producers for undertaking business collectively and register as a formal entity so as to enable the scale as well as better bargaining power, facilities and opportunities of business.

Marketing Initiatives

Producers in rural India face numerous multifaceted problems of which marketing is perhaps the most important and difficult to address. Realizing the importance of effective marketing infrastructure for both farm and non-farm sector, NABARD has been extending support for setting up Rural Haats, Rural Marts and enabling artisans and craftsmen to reach the customers through participation in exhibitions and melas.

Rural Haat

Rural Haats have provided the rural communities with an accessible marketplace to buy and sell their farm and off-farm produce. They have become vital to the lives and livelihoods of these communities. NABARD supports rural marketing by providing support for infrastructure development in existing or new village markets. Gram Panchayats have been an active partner with NABARD in this endeavor.

Rural Mart

Rural Marts have emerged as an important part of the agri-value chain by enabling the members of SHGs, FPOs and OFPOs to market their produce direct to the customer. The importance of providing marketing outlets to FPOs has been realized in the COVID19 crisis. On the one hand, FPOs have done good business by utilizing the opportunity. Consumers, on the other hand, have been able to get fresh farm produce at reasonable price. Rural Marts help to promote entrepreneurship amongst producer communities and enables formalization of rural economy.


Exhibitions and Melas provide a direct marketing platform to the artisans with access to market intelligence, customer preferences and bulk orders. During the course of exhibitions, NABARD not only supports artisans in participating in these exhibitions but also takes initiatives to empower them by organizing Buyer-Seller Meets, conducting training programmes and workshops on branding, marketing, packaging, effective communication and entrepreneurship development, promoting financial inclusion and digital payment mechanisms. Over the years, NABARD has played active role in various exhibitions organised by governments like Surajkund, Mahalaxmi Saras etc.


An innovative scheme called ‘Stall in Mall’ has been introduced to provide support for hiring and / or setting up of temporary stalls for a period of between one to three months in a year in reputed malls, stores, market complexes, reputed hotels, and prominent premises (Govt. or private), places with good footfall. This will help in the rural producers to learn about price discovery, customer preferences, need for changing designs and e marketing etc., which will lead to more income in the hands of the producers.

The stalls are to be taken on rent or hired for exhibiting the products of the rural artisans, weavers, OFPOs, FPOs, SHGs, JLGs, producers etc., supported by NABARD under various interventions. The duration of the exhibition can be decided depending on the local conditions like the type of venue, suitability of products for the venue, market demand, availability etc., but should not be less than one month.

DPR based projects

The scheme is innovative in itself as it does restrict type of projects which can be implemented. This new product, which is very flexible, will support ONLY those off-farm sector activities that are not covered under the existing developmental schemes of NABARD. The objectives of this policy are as follows:

  • Promotion and upscaling of innovative projects in Off-Farm and allied sectors
  • Upgradation of innovation to business/ enterprise level
  • Enhancing productivity of off-farm and allied sectors and creating market access
  • Promotion of off-farm value chains
  • Promotion of off-farm collectives, including skill development leading to entrepreneurship or employment.
  • For the purpose of this product, all activities that do not pertain to production in agriculture and allied sectors are considered to be off-farm.
Supporting Rural Business Incubation Centres

Rural Business Incubation Centres (RBICs) are institutions or organisations designed to accelerate the growth and success of agri-entrepreneurs through various support resources and services that include, physical space, capital, capacity building, coaching, common services, mentoring ad networking connections.

In order to develop a supportive ecosystem for rural/agri-entrepreneurs, NABARD started supporting setting up of Agri Business Incubation centres (ABICs) in 2017-18. The policy envisaged extending support to eligible institutions like Agriculture universities /similar institutions (Host Institution) for setting up RBICs and meet the eligible capital cum operational expenditure for functioning for a period of five years.

NABARD supported Rural Business Incubation Centres provide business support services and resources, marketing, finance to agri-startups and agri-entrepreneurs to develop them into viable commercial entities which will result in both direct and indirect benefits accruing to the farmers.

NABARD also supported Accelerator programmes, road shows, workshops, Start-up Dialogues, etc., for giving a fillip to Agri Business Incubation and Agri Startups.

Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications (GI) is an Intellectual Property (IP) right that identifies goods originating from a specific geographical location and having distinct nature, quality and characteristics linked to that location. A GI right allows its holder to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards.

GIs can play an important role in rural development, empowering communities, acting as product differentiators, support brand building, create local employment, reduce rural migration, creating a regional brand, generating spin-off effects in tourism and food, preserving traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and conserving biodiversity. GIs are the least explored and most underrated IP. NABARD provides support in facilitating pre-registration as well as post-registration activities for GI products.