Vice President Naidu wants startups to help create agri-entrepreneurs, new models in food processing

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February 23, 2020 2:39 PM

M. Venkaiah Naidu urged entrepreneurs to “evolve effective models in the food processing sector” post consultation with the scientific community and farmers.

The Vice President also sought industry’s to play a bigger role.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday called upon Indian startups to help farmers equip with the required technology to boost agri-entrepreneurship in the country. Inaugurating an event on agri-technology and innovation at Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University in Hyderabad, Naidu said that “emerging start-ups can bridge the gaps in facilitating outreach of technology to the farmers and create the right ecosystem for agri-entrepreneurship in India.” He also urged scientists and researchers to develop solutions for challenges faced by Indian farmers.

“The major challenges confronting Indian agriculture are high input costs, instability in yields, low returns, debts, diminishing natural resources, growing demand for food, fragmented land holdings, and the vagaries of nature,” he said. The Vice President also urged entrepreneurs to “evolve effective models in the food processing sector” post consultation with scientific community and farmers as the phases of post-harvest management to marketing are a key to mitigating farm crisis. “Here the role of food processing becomes so vital,” he said.

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Naidu added that while majority agricultural commodities usually have inefficient supply chain linkages with multiple intermediaries, innovative business models due to online marketing can create “a win-win situation for farmers and consumers.” This is an ‘innovation space’, said Naidu, that is rapidly coming up and new models are required to be encouraged actively. 

The Vice President also sought industry’s to play a bigger role in terms of more social responsibility and connect closely with research organizations to help farmers with a more sustainable and profitable crop production system without depending much on external inputs. “There is a need to focus on demand-driven innovation to help farmers to market their produce efficiently and earn profits,” said Naidu. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharman in her budget speech had said that prosperity to farmers can be ensured by making farming competitive. For this, the minister said “farm markets need to be liberalised. Distortions in farm and livestock markets need to be removed. Purchase of farm produce, logistics and agri-services need copious investments.” Among other suggestions included substantial support and hand-holding of farm-based activities such as livestock, apiary, and fisheries.

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