Agri-Preneurs : Who are they!!?
Not all agripreneurs are farmers. Agripreneurs take up diverse roles in the agri-business which directly or indirectly benefit the community by improving agricultural productivity and try to reduce poverty by job creation in the sector. Agripreneurs can work at farm-level to bring healthy choice of food to consumers in a way which is beneficial for both the consumers and the farmers. They can choose to work as service providers and contribute by being involved in indirect agricultural practices like procurement of inputs in terms of fertilizers, crops and pesticides, access to equipment like seed drills, harvesters, tractors, dryers, threshers and assistance in installation of technical services like plant protection, harvesting, storage, etc. In addition, they can also work as input producers by being involved in producing inputs like better species of fruits and vegetables, irrigation accessories, bio-fertilizers, vermin-compost, etc. or contribute to the value chain and processing area of agriculture sector. In the coming years, youth will play a strong role in the development of the agriculture sector and bring about a revolution in the sector.
Characteristics of an Agripreneur:
ü Use modern technology for improvement of production process and to increase quality of output
ü Effective financial management of resources for better planning and decision making
ü Efficient management of human resources involved in the work process
ü Customer management skills to have a better understanding of customer needs and level of customer satisfaction
ü Meet customer demands on time
ü Identification, assessment and prioritization of risks involved (like drought, lack of water resources, etc.) by coordination through the supply chain
How can the country benefit from this new breed of entrepreneurs? Is it worth pursuing?
With an increase in number of agripreneurs, we can aim to implement sustainable agricultural practices and reduce the dependency of the country on imported agricultural produce. It will also help in a huge amount of job creation for the rural population. The agripreneurs can leverage IT, increase in mobile connectivity and the e-commerce platform to reach a greater audience.
Some notable examples of agripreneurship:
1) EKGAON : Ekgaon take input from the farmers through mobile phone in terms of type of soil, farm size, geography, variety of crop, nutrient loss in soil, etc. and provides tailor-made advisory services to farmers regarding what is the best suitable pesticide and fertilizer that can be used, the contact details of nearest dealers. It also allows them to set reminders to check if the suggestion has been implemented or not. They have been able to reduce the costs of the farmers to a large extent reaching more than 5 million farmers.
2) DIGITAL GREEN: It is an online platform which uses technology to reach out to farmers and create capacity among their community groups. They help farmers In production of videos on topics that are relevant to local farmers featuring the local citizens as actors.
3) OMNIVORE PARTNERS: Online website that serves the basic needs of farmers in Tamil Nadu.