AGRI-PRENEURSHIP: NEED OF HOURS
Authors: Chandan Kumar Rai1, Arti2 and Abul K. Azad1
1Ph.D. Scholar, Dairy Extension Division, NDRI, Karnal-132001, Haryana, India
2Ph.D. Scholar, DES&M, NDRI, Karnal-132001, Haryana, India


Amidst the changing paradigms and demanding global structure, India, In order to remain a front-runner needs to primarily focus on the agriculture sector, the backbone of the economy. This specialization will develop agri-preneurs with distinct traits and skills to exploit opportunities galore in the field of agriculture. Among the various strategies to promote planned growth in this sector, focus on promoting viable enterprises will certainly help exploit its operational efficiency to the hilt. Agripreneurship is defined as generally sustainable, community oriented, directly marketed agriculture. Sustainable agriculture denotes a holistic, systems oriented approach to farming that focuses on the interrelationships of social, economic and environmental process. Agricultural entrepreneurs are those entrepreneurs who undertake agricultural activities as raising and marketing of crops, fertilizers and other inputs of agriculture. They are motivated to raise agriculture through mechanization, irrigation and application of technologies for dry land agriculture products. They cover a broad spectrum of the agricultural sector and include its allied occupations.

Need for Agri-preneurship:

  • Increasing demand of organic and quality food both in India and abroad.
  • Competitive advantages for many primary production activities in agriculture. Ex: Rain-fed farming, livestock and wild craft production is through low cost production technologies only.
  • Private sector is willing to enter in to agribusiness at all levels of operation
  • To reduce mall nutrition as majority of women and children in the country are mall nourished.
  • Scope for entrepreneurship development in Agriculture.
  • Technologies those reduce the cost of production and increase the benefit of the farmers will open new opportunities for Agri-entrepreneurship.
  • New technologies that are simple and time saving and keep away farmers from drudgery of labour will also provide opportunity for entrepreneurship in agriculture.
  • Technologies that provide social and psychological benefits to farmers will also provide opportunity for entrepreneurship in agriculture.
Importance Agri-preneurship in India:

  1. Increasing demand for organic and quality food both in India as well as abroad.
  2. Competitive advantage for many primary production activities in agriculture such as tropical fruits and vegetables, livestock rearing, aquaculture, rain fed farming.
  3. Agriculture sector needs well-functioning markets to drive growth, employment and economic prosperity in rural areas of the country.
  4. To provide dynamism and efficiency into the marketing system. Agriculture contributes almost 18.5% to India's GDP, while it accounts for about 13% of the country's total exports.
  5. For the past couple of years (2006-07 and 2007-08), the agriculture and allied sector saw a growth rate of more than 4%, comparing to the growth rate of 2.5% during the 10th Five Year Plan
  6. Due to this huge market potential, Indian agricultural sector has become the home to a number of agricultural companies.
On farm Activities: Depending upon the geographical situation and resources availability, the possible areas of entrepreneurship in agriculture are:

  1. Agro produce processing units: These units do not manufacture any new product. They merely process the agriculture produce. e.g., Rice mills, Dal mills, Decorticating mills etc.
  2. Agro produce manufacturing units: These units produce entirely new products based on the agricultural produce as the main raw material. e.g., Sugar factories, Bakery, Strawboard units etc.
  3. Agro-inputs manufacturing units: These units produce goods either for mechanization of agriculture or for increasing productivity. E.g., Fertilizer manufacturing plants, insecticides production units, food processing units, agricultural implements etc.
  4. Agro-service centers: These include the workshops and service centers for repairing and serving the agricultural implements used in agriculture.
Off-Farm Activities: Entrepreneurship development is also profitable in different off-farm activities like cloth stitching, knitting, embroidery, cloth printing (tie and dye), carpet making, dari making, envelope and plastic bag making, agarbatti making, candle making, rope making, basket making, bamboo-work, distilled water making, oil extraction, chalk making, biogas mechanic, electric wiring, mason, carpentry, black smithy, solar mechanic, electrician, auto mechanic, welding, pottery, and other rural crafts. The possible areas of entrepreneurship in allied activities of agriculture is the activities like, Dairying, Sericulture, Goat rearing, Rabbit rearing, Floriculture, Fisheries, Shrimp farming, Poultry farming, Sheep rearing, Vegetable cultivation, Nursery farming, Grafting/budding, Farm forestry, etc.

Functions of Agricultural entrepreneurs: The functions of an entrepreneur can be summarised as follows:

  • Conception of an idea: An entrepreneur is the person with a creative mind who can identify business opportunities and take steps for the conversion of ideas into successful business ventures, and give them a concrete shape.
  • Promotion: It is felt that generally an entrepreneur undertakes the risk of setting up a small enterprise as a sole proprietor. But, now-a-days many entrepreneurs have assumed the role of promoters of large companies. In fact, promotion may be undertaken for setting up a new business, small or large expansion of an existing business or for combining two or more business firms. As a promoter, the entrepreneur has to conduct feasibility studies, decide to the form of organisation, assemble the required funds and people, and give a concrete shape to the business proposition.
  • Innovation: An entrepreneur is also seen as an innovator who tries to develop new technology, products and markets. The entrepreneur uses his creative abilities to do new things and exploit opportunities in the market.
  • Bearer of risks and uncertainty: You know that starting of a new business venture involves good amount of risk and uncertainty. To start with, it is the entrepreneur who assumes risks and is prepared for the losses that may arise because of unforeseen situations in future. In fact, it is his willingness to take risks that helps him to take initiatives in doing new things or trying new methods of production.
  • Arranging necessary capital: Arranging funds is one of the biggest hurdles in setting up a new entrepreneur. It is he who has to provide the initial capital (otherwise known as ‘risk capital’ or ‘seed capital’) for starting the ventures and then make the necessary
Government policy for Agri-preneurship in India:

New industrial policy (1991): It envisaged pursuit of these objectives to be tempered by the need to preserve the environment and ensure the efficient use of available resources. All sectors of industry whether small, medium or large, belonging to public, private or cooperative sectors were to be encouraged to grow and improve on their post-performance. The New policy also encompasses encouragement of entrepreneurship, development of indigenous technology through investment in research and development, bringing in new technology, dismantling of the regulatory system, development of the capital markets and increasing competitiveness for the benefit of the common man. The spread of industrialization to backward areas of the country will be actively promoted through appropriate incentive, institutions and infrastructure investments. While recognizing the role of public sector, the new policy seeks to ensure that the public sector is run on business lines envisaging privatization, disinvestments and public sector restructuring.

Financial assistance for Agri-preneurship :

  • Techinical scheme: 7.5 lakhs
  • Special capital scheme: 4 lakhs
  • Seed capital scheme: 15 lakhs
  • Disabled entrepreneur: 100% finance upto 50,000
  • Modernization: 90 lakhs
Government support: The ministry of small scale industries & agro and rural industries, designs and implementation of policies through its field organizations for promotion and growth of small and tiny enterprise, including the coir industries. The Ministry also coordinates with other Ministries/Departments on behalf of the Small Scale Industries sector.

Financial Institutions for Agri-preneurship in India:

  • Small Industry Development Organisation
  • Industrial Development bank of India
  • Industrial Finance Corporation of India
  • Commercial banks and state Financial Corporation.
Small Industry Services Institute –state

References:

1. Mohanty, S.K. 2005. Fundamentals of entrepreneurship. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

2. Needham, P. 1998. ‘Privatizing an Extension Service: A Management View.’ In: R. Wallace (ed) Rural Knowledge Systems for the 21st Century: Rural Extension in Western, Central and Eastern Europe. Reading, U.K: The University of Reading, ADAS and SAC.pp192-198.



About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently pursuing PhD (Agricultural Extension Education) at ICAR-NATIONAL DAIRY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Karnal-132001, Haryana (INDIA).