3) Agribusiness incubation and entrepreneurship key for vibrant agricultural development
(10 February 2012)

Hyderabad, India 10 February 2012 –Highlighting the crucial role of entrepreneurship as a catalyst for agricultural and economic development, the 2ndGlobal Agri-Business Incubation Conference of the Network of Indian Agri-Business Incubators (NIABI) 2012 concluded successfully in New Delhi on 8 February 2012.

Jointly organized by the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the three-day conference aimed to create global awareness, build competencies on agribusiness incubation among entrepreneurs, and establish partnerships among agribusiness sectors worldwide.

In his address as Chief Guest at the inaugural session, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, spoke on the need for a “vibrant agricultural development through innovations and inclusive growth” for India to become an economically developed nation by 2020. This, he added, is possible through product diversification, with focus on better technology, sound entrepreneurship, infrastructure development, and market understanding.

“Worldwide, business incubators are now gaining recognition as vital to agricultural and industrial agribusiness sectors, where technology serves as a precursor for improving the economic, social and environmental conditions especially of rural communities,” said ICRISAT Director General William Dar in his message during the conference.

“India should lead the rest of the world with its vast experience in commercializing farming technology. Networking with farmers and enterprises will be the core of this success,” he added. With NIABI as the model, several incubators across Africa will be set up through ICRISAT’s partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)-UniBRAIN.

In a special roundtable session on India’s recent initiative on South-South collaboration through the Indo-African Summit on Agribusiness chaired by Dr Dar, a joint declaration was agreed by ICRISAT, ICAR-NIABI and FARA-UniBRAIN towards intensifying partnership in technology transfer, business incubation, and commercialization of agri-based products between India and Africa.

In his remarks during the closing session, NAIP National Director Dr Bangali Baboo said that the conference has opened up new avenues of opportunities for the scaling up of NIABI’s initiatives in commercializing technologies and supporting entrepreneurs.

The conference was attended by more than 200 agri-preneurs, scientists, agri-companies, policymakers, farmers and funding agencies from India, as well as representatives from Malaysia, Philippines and six African nations. A roadmap to revitalize agriculture and allied sectors through agribusiness was developed during the conference serving as a platform to popularize new and better livelihood opportunities and to strengthen the global agribusiness incubator network.

NIABI was set up in 2009 to harness the potential of agricultural entrepreneurship to improve the livelihood of millions that depend on India’s agriculture sector and to contribute to the nation’s overall economic growth. Today, it boasts of 10 Business Planning and Development (BPD) units coordinated by ICRISAT’s Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) program and 54 technologies that have been commercialized generating revenue worth USD10 million.

The next global NIABI conference will be held at the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), Cochin, Kerala in February 2013.


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