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IIT-Kharagpur, NABARD to conduct first Agri-Food Techathon

Together with NABARD, IIT Kharagpur is hosting the first Agri-Food Techathon of its kind (AFT 2021) to encourage the participation of young people in creativity and entrepreneurship in various fields of the agri-food industry.

Prity Barman
V.K Tiwari

Together with NABARD, IIT Kharagpur is hosting the first Agri-Food Techathon of its kind (AFT 2021) to encourage the participation of young people in creativity and entrepreneurship in various fields of the agri-food industry.  

The event is being organised in collaboration with NABARD by the Department of Agricultural & Food Engineering, the Centre for Rural Growth & Creative Sustainable Technology and the Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship. 

AFT-21 will be inaugurated by Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on January 25, a press release released by IIT Kharagpur said. 

The foundation of the Agri-Business Incubation Centre will also be laid at the inaugural event, which will fulfill the mandate to incubate creative ideas for agri-business development in the area of agriculture and food technology. 

With a GDP share of 14 per cent, agriculture is the largest vertical employment sector. India has seen a large rise in yields and crop diversity over the years thanks to mechanization and information dissemination initiatives. The steep consumption resulting from the population boom, however, has been a constant challenge requiring rapid development in the agricultural sector. 

‘Though India is progressing towards automation and digitalization at an accelerated pace, there is a critical need to balance it with automation in the rural livelihood and agricultural sectors, and to ensure steady growth. We are reaching out to the talented young people of this country through the Agri-Food Techathon to accomplish this goal. This forum would enable them to demonstrate and demonstrate their innovation, problem-solving and prototyping skills in agriculture and food technology, contributing to the production of indigenous goods, the creation of jobs and the fulfillment of our commitment to Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ described in the statement by Prof. V K Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur. 

Online national level festival 

More than 750 university and college students, entrepreneurs and rural youth from around the country from 20-25 years of age with varied academic backgrounds will participate in the national-level online technological fest lasting from January to March 2021. AFT-2021 will hold a competitive B-plan submission for the candidates, aside from seminars, mentorship and guest talks. 

Experts in industry and technology in the fields of farm mechanisation, AIML, agricultural IoT, precision farming, greenhouse farming, organic farming, biotechnology, crop research and monitoring, food manufacturing, packaging and storage, management of the food supply chain. 

In the AFT-2021 sensitization workshop, renowned technical experts from leading institutions such as IIT Kharagpur, IARI New Delhi, CIAE Bhopal and Founders and CEOs of various popular agri-food software start-ups such as Sickle Base, Sfarms India, Fasal, Nutrigreen, Organic Farming, Cropin, B2V, KeyhtiKhadyamCrofarmWAycool, Villa Mart, will participate. 

For formal affiliation with ABIC, IIT Kharagpur, more than 30 teams with high potential will be chosen. Assistance in the form of technology and market growth mentorship, R&D assistance, laboratory, classroom, access to the pilot plant and funding opportunities by prospective partners or accelerators will be provided. 

'Incubated start-ups would be encouraged at our Centre to build and transition low-cost technology for the economic growth of rural communities. We will also hold hands-on training, workshops, and seminars on capacity building for farmers and unemployed rural youth,' told Prof.H N Mishra, Agri Business Incubation Centre in charge Professor.    

Relevant focus will be put by action-oriented research on supporting climate-resilient agriculture in vulnerable districts, agricultural value chains, promoting collectives of producers, value-adding, market-linkage and risk management, as well as delivering specialist advisory services, policy advocacy, including human resource development in rural areas. 

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