The Karnataka state government in India has initiated a public-private partnerships approach across the whole agricultural value chain – focusing not only on production but all the way through to agribusiness. Core to their holistic approach is having science-backed solutions at all stages and providing the policy support, thus making farming profitable, and ensuring the smallholder farmer benefits.
The Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr Siddaramaiah, indicated in his discussions with Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT, that he is very focused on creating an enabling environment for investment in Karnataka, with agriculture as one of the key sectors that he sees for the state’s growth in the future.
Industry representatives expressed positive views on the government’s pro-industry approach. BigBasket, an online grocery store that caters to the urban market, shared that there is considerable demand for organic produce, and currently they are unable to meet the demand. Kotak Mahindra Bank said that they are willing to offer credit support to promote agribusiness.
In his address at the ‘Invest Karnataka 2016 Global Investors Meet’ Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture, Government of Karnataka, was very positive towards the involvement of national and international research organizations and the private sector, not just in enhancing production and productivity, but also in processing, so that smallholder farmers can benefit across the value chain. Talking about the “Karnataka Agri Business & Food Processing Policy 2015” he mentioned that in addition to providing single window clearance the policy also makes available various incentives for the private sector to set up processing plants across the state. Another unique initiative by the Government of Karnataka is strong policy support for biotechnology. This initiative of the government has a science-led approach that is promoted by ICRISAT.
In his interactions with the Chief Minister, Dr Bergvinson briefed him about the ongoing collaboration between Government of Karnataka and ICRISAT. Dr Bergvinson also presented samples of improved varieties of groundnut, pigeonpea and chickpea and particularly highlighted the importance of scaling-up pigeonpea hybrids in the state. Confectionery groundnut was also highlighted as an important mandate for public-private partnership. The Chief Minister appreciated ICRISAT’s efforts and stressed the need to popularize improved cultivars of groundnut, finger millet, pigeonpea and other crops in the state.
The achievements of Department of Agriculture and ICRISAT collaboration through Bhoochetana which has benefitted more than 5 million farmers with increased productivity by 20-66% were discussed. Bhoo Samruddhi, another innovative approach of convergence of different sectors to benefit the farmers was also highlighted.
Dr Bergvinson shared that the use of new science tools like marker-assisted breeding of improved cultivars of finger millet, pigeonpea, chickpea and groundnut allowed cultivars to be released quickly. He said that ICRISAT is working closely with Government of Karnataka and private sector partners to provide sustainable solutions to smallholder farmers to realize their full potential. ICRISAT builds this through public-private partnerships. Farmers are engaged in design, development and delivery of technologies to meet their needs.
He emphasized on the multiple benefits of nutri-cereals like millets and sorghum. He said that ICRISAT is proud to be the pioneer engaged in creating a consortium of corporate members. These partnerships are very diverse and very impactful. ICRISAT looks forward to public-private partnerships through corporate social responsibility to investing in the private sector, creating markets for smallholder farmers.
During the panel discussion on the agricultural sector Mr Byre Gowda stressed on the need to transform the agricultural sector which can be a growth engine for the state. He stressed the need for private companies to come forward and participate by enhancing their investments in the state in increasing production and productivity along with profitability for the farmers through value addition.
Dr Bergvinson in his address highlighted the science-led development in agriculture by harnessing the power of digital agriculture to enhance production, productivity and profitability along with ensuring sustainability of agriculture as a source of livelihood in the state. He elaborated on the innovative interventions undertaken by the Government of Karnataka with the help of a consortium of national and international partners led by ICRISAT.
Dr David Bergvinson met the Chief Minister along with Mr Krishna Byre Gowda, Minister of Agriculture; Ms Latha Krishna Rao, Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Development Commissioner; Mr Manjunath Prasad, Principal Secretary and Mr Panduranga Bomaya Nayak, Commissioner, Agriculture and ICRISAT team.
ICRISAT also set up a stall depicting new technologies and products for increasing productivity as well as profitability of the farmers in the state.
The ‘Invest Karnataka 2016 Global Investors Meet’ was organized by the Government of Karnataka during 3-5 February at Bengaluru, India. The inaugural function was addressed by dignitaries like Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons; Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group; Mr Anil D Ambani, Chairman, Reliance ADA Group; Mr Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director, JSW Steel; Mr NR Narayan Murthy, Chairman Emeritus, Infosys; Mr Azim H Premji, Chairman, Wipro Limited; Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited, along with other industrialists. There were more than 4,000 participants mainly from industries and different sectors. ICRISAT delegation was led by Dr Bergvinson, and comprised Dr SP Wani, Director, ICRISAT Development Center,
Dr K Krishnappa, Resident Scientist and Dr KH Anantha, Senior scientist – Natural Resource Management, ICRISAT.