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Doubling Farmers Income Committee recommends to set up Division of Agri- enterprise in all agriculture departments - CEO, NRRA, Ministry of Agriculture

Nov 19, 2019

  Need to simplify policies and create platform for data standardization for agri start-ups

NEW DELHI, 19 November 2019: Dr Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRRA), Ministry of Agriculture, today said that the government is in the process of setting-up a dedicated Agri Entrepreneurs Cell for start-ups and small entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the 2nd edition of Conference and Awards for Innovations by Agri Start-ups 'Nurturing Agri Innovations', Dr Dalwai said that there are numerous areas where the start-ups can help farmers reduce cost and increase income.

Dr Dalwai also stressed upon the need to create a platform for standardized and structured data that can be accessed free of cost. "Biggest problem in getting data is that there is no data standardization and no structure that can be uniformly interpreted. We need to start looking at building up of database related to all aspects of agriculture and how it can be digitally translated," he added.

Highlighting the role of various agriculture research centres and institutions, Dr Dalwai said that we should create a platform where different technologies, already existing, are uploaded and made available to everybody. "Innovation is not invention. It is picking up an idea which has worked somewhere and make it applicable elsewhere. Create a data platform where these research institutions are able to continuously upload the challenges and solutions so people can work upon them," he said.

Ms Neelkamal Darbari, MD, SFAC, Government of India, said that the role of agri start-ups comes at the pre-harvest stage by providing value addition to the farmer. Highlighting the role of FPOs (Farmers Producer Organization), Ms Darbari said that FPOs are still struggling to do business in traditional ways. The country has around 5,000 FPOs and they can act as vehicle for innovation. "The interface of technology through FPO mechanism is yet to see some kind of traction," she added.

Mr Hemendra Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Taskforce on Agri Start-ups & Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund, stressed upon the need for start-ups to provide innovative solutions to the farmers to increase their incomes. Highlighting the opportunities in agri innovations, he said, "We need to build capacity so that innovations can reach farmers. We can unlock value to the tune of US$ 10 billion through agri innovations and the value that gets unlocked goes to farmers."

Mr T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee and Group President, TAFE, said, "Past few years have witnessed some positive changes with agri start-ups and particularly secondary agri business models that are defining rural economics, entering the sector and introducing innovations at different stages of agriculture value chain. If India is to realize the vision of becoming a global powerhouse in the agriculture sector, it needs stronger partnerships which are pivotal for rural community-based empowerment."

Mr Pravesh Sharma, Adviser, FICCI & Co-founder and CEO, Kamatan Farm Tech Pvt Ltd said that the most critical part in agri start-ups is funding. The role of government is to set rules, policies and it can become a funder of funds.

FICCI Compendium on Agri Start-Ups representing 103 case studies was also released during the event.

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