‘Farm graduates can become self-reliant by setting up agriculture start-ups’

KARNATAKA MYSURU 22/07/2021: A farmer engaged in sowing on his farm near Mysuru. General Manager of NABARD R.M. Kummur sought to know why agricultural universities are yet to produce start-ups when IITs and IIITs could produce entrepreneurs.   | Photo Credit: M.A. SRIRAM

Despite being the oldest profession, agriculture is still not getting adequate returns and for many, it is yet to become viable, Chairman of Karnataka Vikas Grameena (KVG) Bank P. Gopikrishna has said.

He was delivering the keynote address at the Academia-Industry Interface conclave on “Agri Start-ups - Way Ahead” organised by World Bank-funded Project NAHEP-IDP at University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad on Monday.

“Famines in the 1960s and 1970s led to shortage of foodgrains and milk in India and forced import of foodgrains. Subsequently, impetus was given to farming in the successive Five Year Plans leading to Green Revolution. As much as 50% of the total 218 million hectares available for farming has already been brought under irrigation. But, unfortunately even after 75 years of Independence, farm returns continue to be low,” he said.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan towards doubling farm income by reducing input cost and increasing market price, Mr. Gopikrishna said that it is time graduates of agricultural sciences became self-reliant by setting up agri-entrepreneurships.

General Manager of NABARD R.M. Kummur sought to know why agricultural universities are yet to produce agriculture start-ups when IITs and IIITs could produce entrepreneurs. “Start-ups in agriculture do not mean just crop cultivation. There are a number of byproducts and related industries which can be established. Over 250 byproducts can be prepared with maize and over 100 byproducts from soya. With both these being major crops in the region, several start-ups can be set up,” he said.

Mr. Kummur said that the problem of funds for start-ups could be addressed through CSR funding by incubation centres.

Presiding over the programme, Vice-Chancellor of UAS-Dharwad Mahadev Chetti said that although the country had achieved production of 305 million tonnes of foodgrains, it lacked the requisite storage facilities and consequently, tonnes of foodgrains were getting lost every year.


Prof. Chetti said that to meet infrastructure needs, the Union government has earmarked ₹100 crore for establishing 50,000 agriculture start-ups in the State. And, the State being a pioneer in framing agriculture start-up policy, has drawn up plans to set up at least 5,000 agriculture-related start-ups, he said.

Senior officials of UAS-D and scientists were present.

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