New Horizons of Agri-entrepreneurs and Agro MSMEs
16th Dec, 2020
- With close to 60 percent of the world population and 58 percent of Indian population predominantly relying upon agriculture and allied sectors, the efforts for enhancing the outcomes of the workforce in this Agri-sector, would directly affect the quality of lives of millions. Hence, 'the Economics of wellbeing rests heavily on Economics of Agriculture'.
- Agri-tech (Agriculture technology) is the application of various technological tools to enhance productivity and profitability in Agri-sector, where the prominent agritech applications include loT(Internet of things), drones, intelligent software for pest control and soil analysis, satellite imagery for monsoon and water table management, automated irrigation etc.The modern scientific research has brought bio-tech/nano-tech closer to Agri-tech.
- The Agri-entrepreneurship refers to the establishment, development, growth and expansion of the Agri-business enterprises in Agriculture and allied sectors.
- The Agro MSMEs are increasing owing to organised farm-based activities, influence of technology supported by enabling government Policies and keen investment interest.
Agri-entrepreneurs and Inclusive Agri-business Ecosystem
- Agriculture to provide life and livelihood to its people, India's agriculture holds the key to a broad-based inclusive development. During 1950s, agriculture was contributing more than 70 percent to Indian GDP, which has declined to 13-20 percent during 2010-20s, however, dependence of rural farming community continues to be about 60-65 percent on Agri-sector.
- Agribusiness, unlike the urban new-age businesses like IT and other service sector is the combination of a conventional trade and modern business techniques. The amalgamation of Agriculture and Entrepreneurship to create commercially viable products and business processes is Agri-business.
Emerging opportunities in Agri-business Enterprises
- A large number of Agri-business opportunities have emerged in the Industries in domains like Agri-product processing, Agri-food packaging, export of fresh fruits and vegetables, organised marketing and supply of semi-processed.The drifting choices of highly skilled personnel in opting for self-employment in agriculture, mounting the Agri-preneuership's perspective in India.
- Some of the innovative Agri-entrepreneurs have embraced value-added Agri-products providing Agri-tech services, rental-business of farm equipment, Agri-/Eco-tourism, processed forest-based products, both directly also through Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and Farmers Producers' Organisations (FPOs). In short 'the farmers who have become Agri-preneurs have generally earned more Income, than those without enterprises.
- India is hot-bed of dairy industry in the world, with AMUL movement being the fore-runner and largest producer of milk and milk products, on cooperative principle.Dairy Entrepreneurship hascreated new wave by adoption of modern science and technology for the rural self-reliance.
Government Initiatives, Agri-entrepreneurs and Agri-Business Incubators (ABls)
- Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has emphasised upon the innovative practices and use of technology in Agri and allied sectors to promote/nurture the Agri-business to create large scale employment, socio-economic equity, self-reliance with Agri-based start-ups and Agri-entrepreneurs. For example like Organic Sikkim has enabled farmers to earn higher profits by eliminating middlemen and finding markets for their Agri-produce by collaboration.
- The government is promoting innovation and Agri-preneurship by providing financial supportand nurturing the incubation ecosystem under the RashtriyaKrishiVikasYojana (RKVY). A total of 346 start-ups In the Agriculture and allied sectors.
New Initiatives with Agro MSME Policy in India
- The recent announcement by the Government if India of implementation of agro MSME policy is a welcome step in creating in situ employment in the rural economy.
- Agro MSME policy is mainly focusing on entrepreneurial development in Agri-based, rural, forest and tribal areas. Its primary aim is to utilise the local raw materials and manpower to produce finished goods, for meeting the local needs.
- As complementary to the Agro MSME Policy, and further to magnetise its effect, ASPIRE (A Scheme for Promotion of Innovation, Rural Industries and Entrepreneurship) has primary objectives to create employment through skills and training development,by strengthening the grass-root level development and in creating in situ livelihood opportunities.
- The recent studies indicated a contraction of 23.9 percent in national GDP, for quarter of June 2020, but agriculture has been the only sector to have recorded positive growth.Agri-entrepreneurship and thrust for MSME agriculture sector is the need of the hour in Indian economy
- Few of the innovative initiatives and institutional mechanisms that can be undertaken, by the various stakeholders, for inclusive socio-economic development and benefits are:
- Agri-business and Agro MSMEs in cluster-based approach.
- Facilitating the Agri-entrepreneurs can create local employment, enhance income generation and rural empowerment systems, for integrated and inclusive development.
- Encouraging Agri-entrepreneurship and organised business models, by harnessing e-commerce systems, will create a large network of domestic and international suppliers and buyers
- Import substitution can be strengthened (on the principles of vocal for local) by focusing more on Agri-business/Agro MSMEs
- Agro MSMEs policy is going to act as the game changer in the economic sustainability of rural economy in particular
- Agri-enterprises can focus on farm production, while Agro MSMEs can devote resources on processing, packing and marketing of Agri-processed products
- Besides investing and holding attractive business propositions trading in consumable farm produce could be the new oil for trading.
- It is anticipated that mankind has realized supreme importance of health and safety, when compared to material possessions of 21st Century, hence there is hope for building the ecosystem for profitable Agri-enterprises.