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Agri-StartUp Stakeholders Connect Promotes Collaborative Growth in Agriculture Entrepreneurship

The 'Agri-StartUp Stakeholders Connect' event served as a pivotal juncture for fostering collaboration and partnerships within the agricultural startup landscape.

Shivam Dwivedi
Agri-StartUp Stakeholders Connect Promotes Collaborative Growth in Agriculture Entrepreneurship
Agri-StartUp Stakeholders Connect Promotes Collaborative Growth in Agriculture Entrepreneurship

The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management-Center for Innovation and Agripreneurship (MANAGE-CIA), Hyderabad, in collaboration with Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, recently orchestrated a significant event titled 'Agri-StartUp Stakeholders Connect–Fostering Collaboration and Partnerships'. Held at the university premises, the event garnered active participation from 26 startups and agricultural stakeholders hailing from Himachal Pradesh. Moreover, over 200 students and faculty members of the university engaged fervently in the event proceedings.

Unifying Diverse Stakeholders for Collective Growth

Dr. Inder Dev, the Director of Extension Education, extended a warm welcome to the participants, elucidating the event's overarching objective. He emphasized the aim to unite a myriad of stakeholders encompassing researchers, incubators, policymakers, agripreneurs, start-ups, agro-industries, investors, extension functionaries, students, and other pertinent partners from the state. The event, according to Dr. Dev, provided a platform for the presentation and exchange of innovations, perspectives, expertise, and experiences within the domains of agribusiness and agripreneurship. The collective intent was to contribute significantly to the burgeoning startup landscape.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness

Professor Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, the Vice Chancellor and Chief Guest of the event, underscored the global interest in activities transcending the farm gate. He urged graduates specializing in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry to explore entrepreneurial avenues, thereby transitioning into job providers. Professor Chandel lauded the evolving support infrastructure for startups, stressing the imperative of harnessing the conducive startup environment to translate novel ideas into profitable ventures.

He announced the university's intention to extend invitations to agri startups from diverse regions of the state as special guests to research and scientific advisory committee meetings. This move aims to foster collaboration between startups and the university's research stations and Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Additionally, he proposed leveraging doctoral scholars to validate the work undertaken by startups and generate scientific data.

Exploring Opportunities in Specialized Sectors

Distinguished speakers, including Dr. VP Sharma from the Directorate of Mushroom Research, Chambaghat, and Dr. Arun Chandan, Director of the National Medicinal Plants Board, highlighted niche opportunities within the Himalayan region. Dr. Sharma emphasized the nutritional benefits of various mushrooms, encouraging students to consider mushroom cultivation as a viable entrepreneurial pursuit.

Dr. Chandan underscored the burgeoning demand for Ayurvedic and herbal products, catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He advocated for large-scale production of quality planting material of medicinal plants to meet industry demands, urging students and the university to explore these avenues.

Harnessing the Potential of Agri Startups

Dr. Saravanan Raj, Director of Agricultural Extension at MANAGE, shed light on the burgeoning startup ecosystem in the country. Despite the upward trajectory, only around 5600 agri startups are currently operational nationwide. Dr. Raj underscored the vast scope presented by the horticulture and forestry sectors for aspiring entrepreneurs. He emphasized the pivotal role of agri startups as development partners, capable of providing innovative solutions and cost-effective services. Dr. Raj called for the establishment of more such development partnerships to further connect stakeholders and drive collective progress.

The event also featured an exhibition where 26 startups, including 22 from Himachal Pradesh, showcased their stories and products. The diverse array of perspectives and insights shared by participants underscored the paramount importance of collaborative efforts in bolstering the startup ecosystem. Notably, statutory offices, Heads of Departments from the university, representatives from the Agriculture Department, and SAMETI actively participated in the event, further exemplifying the spirit of collaboration and partnership.

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