The Union Government accords very high priority to the agriculture sector. In order to contribute directly and indirectly to enhancing the income of farmers by providing opportunites to them and to provide employment to youth, start-ups are being encouraged. A component, Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development programme has been launched under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana in order to promote innovation and agripreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.These start-ups are in various categories such as agro-processing, artificial intelligence, digital agriculture, farm mechanisation, waste to wealth, dairy, fisheries etc.
DAC&FW has selected 5 Knowledge Partners (KPs) as Centres of Excellence. These are –
(1) National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad,
(2) National Institute of Agricultural Marketing(NIAM) Jaipur,
(3) Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) Pusa, New Delhi,
(4) University of Agriculture Science , Dharwad, Karnataka and
(5) Assam Agriculture University, Jorhat, Assam
24 RKVY-RAFTAAR Agribusiness Incubators (R-ABIs) from across the country have also been appointed.
The following are the components of this scheme:
- Agripreneurship Orientation – 2 months duration with a monthly stipend of Rs. 10,000/- per month. Mentorship is provided on financial, technical, IP issues etc.
- Seed Stage Funding of R-ABI Incubatees – Funding upto Rs. 25 lakhs (85% grant & 15% contribution from the incubatee).
- Idea/Pre-Seed Stage Funding of Agripreneurs – Funding up to Rs. 5 lakhs (90% grant and 10% contribution from the incubatee).
The institutes issue calls for application for their programmes and based on a rigorous process of selection through various stages and a training of two months, the final list of start-ups that are to be funded through grants-in-aid are finalised. Training on technical, finance, intellectual property, statutory compliance issues etc. is provided. Mentoring of start-ups through monitoring of milestones and timelines is part of the programme.
Some start-ups that are being incubated offer the following solutions –
- Activx Animal Health Technologies branded as Vetzz, is a network of Veterinary Doctors which provides immediate connect with customers i.e animal owners via real time tele consultation and doorstep visits.
- SNL Innovations – InnoFarms provides fruit and vegetable pulp processed directly at the farm using an in-house developed monoblock fruit processing platform (on-wheels) to convert fruits to pulp with shelf life of up to 1 year with complete traceability from farm to customer.
- EF Polymer developed an Eco-Friendly Water Retention Polymer with an aim to solve the water scarcity crisis for farmers. This startup made a super absorbent polymer designed to absorb water in the soil, retain it for a long time, and supply to the crops as required.
- Among the start-ups that have been selected are several start-ups led by women such as A2P Energy Solution that uses AI to track waste bio-mass and then works with farmers to collect it. On one side it generates additional income for farmers and on the other side A2P converts the collected biomass into Next Gen biofuels like energy pellets, green coal and bio oil.
- Kyari Innovations is working on mitigating human wildlife conflict pan India and internationally. They have created an innovative product called ANIDERS- Animal Intrusion Detection and Repellent System. This device works like a mechanized scarecrow that can protect farmlands from animal intrusions.
- Agsmartic Technologies, has a vision to improve crop yield by precise irrigation and disease management though a data driven approach by using AI, IoT and computer vision. Their product Croplytics® is a combination of hardware and software solution that integrates ground sensor data and satellite imagery to translate data into actionable information for creating a precise model for irrigation.
Apart from the above mentioned 6 startups, there are many more with innovative solutions to improve the farming eco system and augment farm household incomes.
In all, a total of 346 startups in the agriculture and allied sectors are being funded for a sum of Rs. 3671.75 lakhs in this phase. This fund will be released in instalments. These start-ups were trained for two months at 29 agribusiness incubation centres (KPs & RABIs) spread across India. These start-ups will lead to employment to youth. Besides, they, directly and indirectly, will contribute to enhancing the income of farmers by providing opportunities to them.