NITI Aayog with the aim to bring the Agri-Start-ups together and inspire them to devise appropriate solutions for agribusiness issues organised a one-day conclave on “Start-ups for Smart Agriculture” with the support of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) at National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali, Punjab on 7th March 2019.Hon’ble Governor of Punjab, Shri V.P. Singh Badnore inaugurated the conclave as a Chief Guest of the function. It was mentioned in his speech, that the initiative of the NITI Aayog to organise the conclave will create an impetus in promotion of Agriculture Start-ups and agribusiness in the country. He added that the initiatives taken by the Chandigarh Region Innovation and Knowledge Cluster (CRIKC) to create an ecosystem as Centre of Innovations will bring new dimensions in entire agricultural operations holistically with a huge scope to expand this cluster with the special focus on north-west region of the country. The agriculture sector of the country is in dire need of disruptive innovations in which agricultural supply chain can get a boost to scale up the agricultural trade and commerce to the next level with the special reference to agricultural export in the backdrop of recently announced new Agriculture Export Policy. As way forward to it, CRIKC is arranging similar conference on innovations tomorrow at Chandigarh and NITI Aayog will also join in the conference. He also referred that Chandigarh is suitably located to establish national innovation centre and export hub of the country.
In his speech, an attention was drawn for the scientific communities to come out with the specific research inputs for isolation of silica from crop residues, which can suitably serve as fodder for domestic cattle and lead to the economic use of residues instead of on field burning.Speaking in the occasion, Shri YaduvendraMathur, Special Secretary, NITI Aayog emphasised on importance of production of good quality agricultural exportable items to explore overseas destinations to unleash values, where the research institutes can play a significant role developing unique and diversified products to capture the world market.The objective of the conclave is to provide an opportunity to showcase modern technology adoption by FPOs, Cooperatives, Agri-entrepreneurs and Start-ups especially for enhancing agriculture export, value addition and utilization of agriculture equipment, success stories/ best practices, agri-businesses etc. More than 200 stakeholders, i.e., Start-ups & FPOs senior officials of concerned Ministries, State Governments, NABARD, Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) and State Agriculture Universities of the participating northern states, i.e., Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and NCT Delhi, attended the event. The participants included exceptionally performing Start-ups and FPO’s which are transforming the agribusiness space through their innovative technologies and business models.J. M. Balamurugan Principle secretary to Hon’ble Governor of Punjab, Shri V.P. Singh Badnore was also present there.
Dr. T.R. Sharma, Executive Director, NABI briefed about the technologies developed by the NABI which are scalable and sustainable to produce high quality products and enhance the shelf life of horticultural produces. Shri J.P.S. Bindra, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Punjab extended thanks to the Chief Guest, participants and other dignitaries for attending the conclave to make it a successful event. He also spoke about the role of NABARD in supporting the Agricultural Start-ups and FPOs to develop business model for their economic benefits. The regional conclave helped in bringing unique ideas pursued by Start-ups and academia in reducing wastage as well as inefficiencies in the food supply chain, thus improving farmer returns. Start-ups such as Waycool, Chennai and Crofarm, New Delhi shared the way-out in reducing cost of production through the appropriate planning and technology, push towards forecasting and bringing accuracy in improvement of traceability and transparency in the agri-supply chain.The event included speakers on innovative strategies in Agriculture and successful entrepreneurs, Start-ups. FPOs, Policy makers, and academia. A unique networking opportunity is provided to the participating entrepreneurs for peer learning from contemporary founders, in an informal yet high energy interactive environment.