India’s Agrarian Future – Connecting Youth To Agriculture

By Prabodh Krishna

Agriculture requires focus as a business and even venture capitalists have started finding it as a potential area to invest

In an era, when most of the youngsters are running away from agriculture as a mainstream trade practice, millions still look at agriculture as a lucrative career opportunity. One of the organisations named entrepreneurs association of India (EAI), had called upon top agriculture business ideas from across India. It was the time to select top ideas and award them to give boost to start-ups in agriculture sector.

Netherlands had given full support to this cause of EAI and played a critical role to shape the entire process. Starting from connectivity at district level, the summit has few innovative ideas in agriculture segment. Connecting youth to agriculture will play an important role in India’s agrarian future was the theme that evolved naturally.

Dutch government’s willingness to connect with Indian youth and transfer the technological knowhow to them came up as a concern area from the representatives of Dutch side. It is noticeable that Netherlands is one of the world’s largest horticulture supplier along with floriculture produce.

Agriculture requires focus as a business and even venture capitalists have started finding it as a potential area to invest. There are loop holes remaining in agriculture trade, unlike confidence factor in healthcare industry. When BW Businessworld asked one of the marginal venture capitalists “If they can gather courage to invest in farming apart from lucrative allied areas of agriculture”? The answer was in negative. This in turn is the major bottle neck in agriculture to develop as an Industry. Start-up experts though call for pull effect in agripreneurial investments.

Involvement of women in agriculture sector is also a serious requirement that had come up during brainstorming session of the event. There are several opportunities like food parks which provides both backward and forward linkages to start ups in agriculture says Vijay Sachdeva, a horticulture expert and former consultant to government of India. He had put some light on how India has started producing 100,000 tonnes of tomato paste which we earlier used to buy from China. Experts have focussed upon potential available in export market. Domestic market improvement is a subject which remain under discussed.

Ronal Ven holf, A Dutch start up promoter had focussed upon consolidation of, which can add value to entire agriculture supply chain, perhaps the most sensitive spot of agrarian trade in India. He had also said that value addition can bring high economy of scale to agri business opportunities in India. As farmer producer organisation has already started taking good shape. Public private partnership may bring good result as it has done in west said Ronald.

Risks involved in agriculture makes it hard to practice on ground said the experts, though advice had been given to calculate for the finishing end of agriculture trade than opening perspective. Supply chain is the area where improvisation is very much required, especially in case of northern India said the panel. Indian farmers’ knowledge of traditional farming techniques is among best in the world, which needs only right direction to improve yield and productivity.

The idea of space and productivity balance by Akash Chaurasiya a youth from Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh won the first price in the national competition for agriculture ideas. Chaurasiya’s idea is all about taking yield of different crops sown parallel to each other. Few other ideas like using aquaponics while taking productivity from fish pond water, instead of using soil was also good. Most of the ideas though were not related to farming in direct way, they were more for supportive activities like, software platform for post-harvest issues like market connectivity and productivity monitoring or management.

Source: BW Businessworld

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