Kerala agriculture is facing a crisis-like situation due to the declining growth rate since 2013-2014 and the State Government is exploring all possible ways to increase productivity while assuring stable income for the farmers. Developing sustainable agricultural enterprises is the key to maximise the value of farm output and prevent farmers from facing distress situations. Agristartups can maximise the farm income through mobilising creative and innovative youth to develop viable business entities which sustainably procure and use the farm produce at a reasonable market price.
The startup culture is gaining new ground in Kerala due to the efforts of State Government by increasing its share to 15 percent of the total start-ups in the country. Despite the resurgence of startup culture in Kerala especially in IT sector, only 8 percent of start-ups are focusing on agriculture and food processing sector.
Considering the need to promote agri start-ups in the state, the ICAR – Central Tuber Crops Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram along with Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), Agrinnovate India (a Central Govt company) and National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad has organised a two day Tuber Crops Technology Conclave and Agristartup Meet here in the city. This high profile meet was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture Shri. Adv V S Sunil Kumara, in the presence of Dr T. Mohapatra, Secretary DARE & Director General ICAR, Shri. Teeka Ram Meena IAS, Agricultural Production Commissioner, Govt of Kerala along with other dignitaries from Kerala and Odisha states.
The Tuber Crops Technology Conclave & Agri-Startup Meet (AGRI-STARTup1.0) is a unique stakeholder business meet intended to bridge the gap between the agri-innovators and industry, by bringing them under a platform to initiate dialogue and action to accelerate the technology commercialisation for creating sustainable agro-enterprises. This meet has integrated technology developers, financiers, entrepreneurship promotion agencies. In this meet, six successful agri start-ups from Kerala, Assam, Telangana shared their experiences of creating a startup to motivate the young entrepreneurs to venture into this agribusiness.
Various central and state industrial promotion agencies like KSIDC, MANAGE, and venture capitalists narrated their funding schemes and criteria for choosing start-ups for financing, besides a session on Intellectual Property and Technology Licensing has elaborated on the ways to promote Public – Private Partnership. Dignitaries and experts from several International and national agencies like ICARISAT, ICAR, Agrinnovate India, KSIDC, Sree Chitra Institute of Medical Sciences, NIIST among several others took part in this meet. Over 150 participants from eight states took part in this meet.