Technological development must be integrated with agriculture to increase farm productivity and profit earned by farmers, said National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Chairman G.R. Chintala at Agricultural College and Research Institute here on Wednesday.
He was speaking after inaugurating the administrative building of Madurai Agri-business Incubation Forum (MABIF), an initiative of NABARD and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU). He also laid foundation stone for an industrial shed on the college premises.
Speaking about the incubator, Mr. Chintala said the centre planned to increase the agricultural productivity of farmers and thereby improving their income. He said the role of incubators was to transform and commercialise innovative ideas. “The agri business incubator will integrate farmers with technological development. Ultimately, it will improve the income of small and marginal farmers,” he said.
Mr. Chintala said that the NABARD had set up and supported five Agri Business Incubation Centre (ABICs) across the country to promote and nurture agri entrepreneurs and startups. The NABARD had set up a Catalytic Capital Fund to support agri startups. Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Farmer Producer Organisations across the country supplied vegetables and groceries at the doorstep of residents during the lockdown period, he said.
Vice-Chancellor of TNAU N. Kumar said students of the university were motivated to become entrepreneurs and were given assistance by the incubator. A project and a course on block chain, which was developed by an incubatee of MABIF, was launched during the event. The products of various incubatees of MABIF were also launched.
S. Selvaraj, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Chennai region; R. Sundaram, Chartered Accountant; K.P. Ramasamy, Chairman, KPR Group; Sridhar Vembu, Chief Executive Officer, ZOHO Corporation; and V.K. Paulpandi, Dean, Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai, spoke.