07) Global agri-business incubation conference at ICRISAT creates vast opportunities for agri-preneurs

The two-day NIABI 2011: Global Agri-Business Incubation Conference hosted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) - Patancheru successfully concluded on Wednesday, 09 March 2011.

Attended by over 170 participants from India and other countries, the conference helped strengthen the capacities of agri-business incubators by networking with policymakers and funding agencies for policy and financial support.

Co-sponsored by the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and ICRISAT, NIABI 2011 aimed to create global awareness, build competencies on agribusiness incubation among entrepreneurs, and establish global partnerships. The conference included 10 sessions, 45 speakers from 10 countries, and agri-exhibition of 10 Business Planning and Development (BPD) units under the NIABI, along with 6 other startup ventures.

At the event’s inaugural session, ICRISAT Director General William Dar expressed the urgent need to address major challenges currently facing agriculture. According to him, climate change, shrinking farm holdings, rising production costs, and political turmoil in oil-producing countries  are converging to create a ‘perfect storm,’ which is once again putting the world on the verge of crisis with the surge of  food prices.  Dr Dar stressed that innovative products, processes and concepts by entrepreneurs and their integration into existing agricultural systems is the pathway to true inclusive agricultural growth.

In his inaugural address, Dr S. Ayyappan, Director General of ICAR, touched on various issues facing agriculture, and called for “bringing a ‘profit-prestige partnership’ model to farming through innovation and entrepreneurship to encourage the youth to venture into agriculture.” He added that ICAR would create an agri-innovation foundation by the end of this year to provide a platform to enable faster spread of innovations and connectivity to markets.

In commemoration of the 100th International Women’s Day, a special interactive session for women agri-preneurs was held on March 09. The session focused on success stories and entrepreneurial opportunities for women in agriculture and allied sectors.

Speaking at the valedictory session, the Honorable Minister for Revenue, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Shri N Raghuveera Reddy stressed the importance of the “agribusiness approach as a new step in promoting agriculture.” He added that though India is self-sustainable in agriculture now, the country may again have to face the challenge of food security due to shrinking land holdings and climate change, as well as people moving out of agriculture. “Agribusiness can be the answer to this issue,” he emphasized.

The Business Planning and Development (BPD) unit of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU-BPD) was awarded the Best Agribusiness Incubator Award for successfully facilitating a research program with Bioseed Research India Pvt. Ltd. The Best Agribusiness Incubatee award was given to Mr Rajkumar of M/S Emral Tune Line Systems.  Mr Rajkumar, an electrical engineer has ventured in developing the mobile-based irrigation system. This invention enables the user to operate irrigation pump using mobile phone from any part of the country.

The conference also marked the launching of the Global Agribusiness Incubation Network (GABI), spearheaded by ICRISAT and ICAR.

The next edition of the global NIABI conference will happen in New Delhi in January 2012.


by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.