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Farmers on a journey to share new agri-ventures to boost Indian agriculture

A train journey to promote cross learning among farmers across India was kick-started by ICRISAT with its hosting of the first of five Agro-tech and business opportunities expos to take place in five cities traversing through Hyderabad, Nagpur, Bhopal, Mathura and New Delhi.

NAIP farmer beneficiaries shared their success stories with fellow farmers to promote new technologies and agri-ventures during the start of the Krishi Parivartan Yatra at ICRISAT.

Krishi Parivartan Yatra (meaning, a journey of agricultural transformation) took 50 farmers and entrepreneurs who are beneficiaries of the World Bank-funded National Agriculture Innovation Project (NAIP) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), on a five-city tour to share new technologies and agri-ventures with fellow farmers.

The first expo held at ICRISAT on 11 May showcased the best of innovations and enterprises developed through NAIP. Parallel sessions and discussions were held, where NAIP farmer beneficiaries shared their success stories with about 200 farmers and entrepreneurs and promoted the tremendous potential of agribusiness in boosting the transformation of Indian agriculture. The train journey was then flagged from the ICRISAT headquarters in Hyderabad for the five-city tour.

“Innovation in agriculture is widely considered as the key to achieve food security. To actualize this vast untapped potential of Indian agriculture, this Krishi Parivartan Yatra is being organized to bring to the fore, the unlimited opportunities that agriculture and agribusiness offer,” said Dr D Rama Rao, National Director, NAIP at the inaugural session of the Yatra.

“We believe smallholder farming in the drylands can be prosperous. And that is why we are engaged in promoting entrepreneurship and agribusiness among the rural communities” said Ms Joanna Kane-Potaka, Strategic Marketing and Communication Director, representing ICRISAT Director General Dr William Dar.

Mr SM Karuppanchetty delivering his address in the presence of other dignitaries.

“ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program has supported more than 200 agribusiness ventures and benefited over 500,000 farmers in Andhra Pradesh and neighboring states. We have identified and supported some very good innovative products and technologies and taken them to the market. The Krishi Parivartan Yatra supports our goal to bring together the best of agri-ventures and enterprises to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers,” said Mr SM Karuppanchetty, Chief Operating Officer, ICRISAT-ABI.

The train journey, along with the just concluded Agri-Biz Idol Camps held in various cities on 5-9 May to reach out to the youth and start-up entrepreneurs, will culminate in the Agri-Innovation Conclave on 18-19 May in New Delhi. The conclave aims to bring together agribusiness experts, professionals, and other stakeholders from across the country, on a common platform to share NAIP’s success and conceive path breaking ideas for strengthening the future of agribusiness in India.

NAIP-ICAR has embarked on this unique initiative to promote awareness on the potential opportunities in agri-business, nurture agri-innovators for future generations, and promote the various business incubation services offered by NAIP’s Business Planning and Development (BPD) units. The BPDs which primarily act as agriculture incubation centers help start-ups or entrepreneurs foraying into agribusiness to flourish by providing comprehensive business solutions.

Over the last five years, 22 agribusiness incubators (BPDs) have been set up throughout India in agricultural universities and research institutes by NAIP-ICAR with support and mentoring by ICRISAT-ABI. The success has led to ICRISAT and ICAR sharing their expertise across the continents to Africa, to coordinate the setting up of food business incubators and food technology laboratories in 10 African countries.

Ms J Kane-Potaka and Dr DR Rao of NAIP flagging off the Krishi Parivartan Yatra at the ICRISAT headquarters.
Photo: R Showkat, ICRISAT
There was an active participation from women farmers at the event.
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