Agri Entrepreneurship (AE) is gaining traction with more corporates and banks pitching in. Syngenta, Tata Trusts, Rabobank, Kuza Technologies, IDBI, and SBI are among the major promoters.
The AE model initiated by the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR), Hyderabad has generated active support from the governments of Bihar, Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh. AE grooms small farmers into well trained and progressive farmers.
In a short period, the initiative in collaboration with the Syngenta Foundation of India (SFI) has reached 7 states covering 75,000 farmers through 580 trained AEs. It will be scaled up to different parts of the country in a phased manner.
At present, the programme is underway in five districts of Bihar, two in AP and 13 in Maharastra. A typical AE works with 200-300 farmers in a cluster of 2-3 villages to develop rural youth agri entrepreneurs. State rural livelihood missions are also keen to transform self-help groups as AEs, said WR Reddy, Director General of the Hyderabad-based institute.
He said: “Farmers at present need commodity centric experts in the form of service providers who could bring in knowledge related to crop science, input services, value-addition and market linkages as a one-stop solution.’’
The AE enterprise platform expects to optimise all processes right from selection of an AE and leading up to their day-to-day business activities and farmers’ interaction. At present it brings together services like credit and market linkage, access to high quality inputs and crop advisory for groups of farmers.
The SFI Chairman, Prakash Apte, said as more companies and organisations partner in the platform development, it will become transformative.
Kuza Technologies, which is the technology platform for the initiative, offers integrated technology solution for every stage of the AE model right from selection of AEs to impact assessment.
The digital platform helps in providing personalised digital extension services to farmers in 5 local languages. Based on the principles of micro learning, the content is created inhouse and validated by experts.