Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare will invest nearly Rs 25 crore in 234 startups in agriculture and allied sectors in FY21 as part of the recently launched Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development programme under the ministry’s Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). According to the ministry, 112 startups have already received funding of close to Rs 12 crore. These startups were selected by five agri-focused institutes including Hyderabad’s National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, National Institute of Agricultural Marketing based in Jaipur, Indian Agricultural Research Institute based in Delhi, Karnataka’s University of Agriculture Science and Assam Agriculture University out of the total applications.
The selected startups went through ‘agripreneurship orientation’ programme for two months wherein they received a monthly stipend of Rs 10,000 along with mentoring on financial, technical, IP related issues, etc., according to a statement released by the ministry on Thursday. The orientation programme was organized at 29 agribusiness incubators of five chosen institutes and RKVY-Raftaar Agribusiness Incubators (RABI) across India. The idea-stage funding to startups is up to Rs 5 lakh including 90 per cent grant and 10 per cent contribution from the incubatee. The capital support for seed-stage ventures is up to Rs 25 lakh that includes 85 per cent grant and 15 per cent share of the incubate.
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“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,” the ministry said. Some of the incubated startups are an online network of veterinary doctors Vetzz, fruits and vegetables pulp provider to customers InnoFarms, EF Polymer that developed water retention polymer for farmers to solve the challenge of water scarcity, A2P Energy Solutions that converts waste biomass into biofuels like energy pellets, green coal, and bio-oil, etc.
Meanwhile, the government is already working on an agro MSME policy focusing on entrepreneurship development in rural, tribal, agricultural and forest areas for manufacturing products using local raw material, MSME Nitin Gadkari had said in a video conference with the members of SME Chamber of India in May this year.