24 January 2014
No. 1607


Helping agribusiness ventures in technology upscaling and commercialization

“We need to accelerate agricultural growth and the way forward is to foster an entrepreneurship climate in the agribusiness sector,” Dr Dar said while addressing the participants of the Agribusiness Fair in ICRISAT. Also seen in the picture are Dr AS Rao (Left) and Dr KK Sharma (Center).
Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

"Our mission at ICRISAT is to make smallholder farmers in the drylands prosperous, not just self-sufficient. That is why we are engaged in promoting an inclusive and technology-based entrepreneurship and agribusiness program,” said ICRISAT Director General William D. Dar in his address during the inaugural program of the Agribusiness Fair held at the ICRISAT headquarters on 17 January.

A one-day Agribusiness Fair organized by ICRISAT proved to be a major success, attracting more than 300 agribusiness innovators and entrepreneurs. The activity gave participating agribusiness ventures a chance to explore numerous opportunities within

the sector and avail of the technology upscaling and commercialization services of the Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program under ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP).

Welcoming the participants, Dr Kiran Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, ICRISAT-AIP, stressed that events such as these contribute to the sustainable transformation of the agricultural sector. “Entrepreneurship at the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) level is one of the most efficient ways of taking products of research for development to the farmers,” he added.

Seeking further active participation from potential entrepreneurs present at the gathering, Dr Sharma assured them of effective business incubation support to help take their agribusiness ideas and ventures forward.

Participants looking at agribusiness products on display
during the Agribusiness Fair. Photo: Sangya S, ICRISAT

Dr AS Rao, Former Advisor, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India, in his special address to the participants, emphasized on the growing prospects in the agribusiness sector for innovators and entrepreneurs and shared valuable business insights.

Mr SM Karuppanchetty, Chief Operating Officer (COO), ABI Program, briefed the participants of the day’s activities which included parallel sessions focusing on agro-tech business opportunities, innovation, new ventures, food business, seed and farm business, and fund facilitation for potential agribusiness entrepreneurs.

Dr Saikat Datta Mazumdar, COO, NutriPlus Knowledge (NPK) Program spoke on business opportunities in the food sector while Mr S Aravazhi, COO, Innovation and Partnership (INP) Program, elaborated on funding opportunities to potential entrepreneurs through the Technopreneur Promotion Programme and the Technology Development Board.

Seventy-six potential entrepreneurs submitted business proposals to a selection committee, of which 10 were picked as potential clients for seed business incubation, 9 for entrepreneurial support, 21 for food business incubation support, and 36 for farm venture support. Fifteen proposals were screened for innovative ideas, three of which were recommended for funding.

“The event proved to be a highly valuable initiative to guide and mentor individuals interested in agribusiness. I can now link my big ideas with the available support systems to nurture my interests. The Fair helped me interact with several entrepreneurs in the sector and has given me insights on various funding schemes, incubation support, and market information,” said Dr Janaki Srinath, a participant at the Agribusiness Fair.

back to top Back to top

Philippines’ Yamang Lupa program for sustainable agriculture in full swing

Yamang Lupa’s Program Management Group meeting on 9 January attended by (seated, L-R) Engr. Samuel Contreras, Head, Soil Conservation and Management Division, Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM) and newly designated program leader of Yamang Lupa; Dr Dar; DA-BAR Director
Nicomedes Eleazar; and members from the different consortium partners in the Philippines.
Photo: DA-BAR

The implementation of the Bhoochetana approach in the Philippines under the Yamang Lupa (soil wealth) program is now in full swing, with a series of management, coordination and partnership activities held recently in the country.

Under the ICRISAT and the Philippines’ Bureau of Agricultural Research – Department of Agriculture (DA-BAR) partnership, the adoption of Bhoochetana principles and approaches through the Yamang Lupa program promises to boost agricultural productivity in the Philippine rainfed areas.

Dr Dar also met with DA Undersecretary Dante Delima to finalize details of a Memorandum of Agreement between ICRISAT and the DA in the implementation of integrated programs on sustainable agriculture to improve productivity and rural livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Philippines. 

back to top Back to top

Training Bhoochetana farmers in management practices for rainfed crops

Farmers visiting a pigeonpea breeding field trial on ICRISAT campus in Patancheru. Photo: ICRISAT

Updating smallholder farmers on information about improved crop, soil and water management options to help them enhance agricultural productivity, are vital in the success of Bhoochetana, a science-based, mission mode program being implemented across the 30 districts of Karnataka to improve rural livelihoods and achieve food and nutrition security while protecting the environment.

In line with this, a training program on “Improved soil, water, nutrient, pest and disease management practices for rainfed crops” was held for farmers from the Gadag district in Karnataka, participating in the Bhoochetana program. The two-day event was held on 21-22 January at the ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru.

Twenty-six farmers freely interacted with a team of interdisciplinary scientists and were exposed to on-station trials in watershed management for a hands-on experience particularly on rainwater and soil conservation technologies.

Farmers were briefed about the improved Vertisol management technology in farm situation that enables double cropping without any supplemental irrigation. The group expressed keen interest in visiting the Heritage Watershed research plots where even under normal rainfall, farmers with improved management interventions managed to harvest crop yields up to 5.2 t per ha.

The importance of balanced soil nutrition was demonstrated to the group by ICRISAT scientists through the ongoing watershed experiments.

Under the Bhoochetana program, balanced nutrient management options have been widely adopted by farmers, giving them improved crop yields by 20 to 66%.

The farmers also visited the Adarsha watershed at Kothapally in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh and observed the impacts of various interventions of soil and moisture conservation measures and check dams on streams for groundwater recharge. They also toured the ICRISAT Genebank and posed queries to scientists on how to adopt improved cultivation and management practices in their villages.

The training-cum-exposure visit was organized under the Bhoochetana capacity building program, and was facilitated by Mr LS Jangawad with support from a team of scientists from ICRISAT Research Programs on Resilient Dryland Systems, Grain Legumes, and Dryland Cereals. It was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

back to top Back to top

AGRHYMET Regional Center officials visit ICRISAT Niamey

Dr CT Hash explaining millet selection to Prof BK Guy-Marcel (center) and his colleagues. Photo: ICRISAT

To further strengthen its partnership with ICRISAT, AGRHYMET Regional Center’s Director General, Prof Bouafou Kouamé Guy-Marcel, paid a visit to ICRISAT Niamey on 16 January. He was accompanied by Prof Atta Sanoussi, Head of Training and Mr Mamadou Samaké, Head of Technical Support of the center.

The AGRHYMET Regional Center is a specialized agency of the permanent Inter-state Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS). Its mission is to contribute to sustainable food security, and sustainable natural resources management and environment in the Sahel by strengthening the capacity of national institutions through training and research, production and information dissemination for policy makers and users.

The visitors explored ways and opportunities of collaboration with ICRISAT, particularly in the area of training. Dr Mahamadou Gandah, ICRISAT Niamey Country Representative welcomed the delegation and briefed it on the institute’s activities and facilities. ICRISAT scientists Drs CT Hash and Falalou Hamidou showcased the millet selection plots and the lysimeters used in drought and heat screening of crop species to the visitors. Dr Shoba Sivasankar, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals also interacted with the delegation during the visit.

back to top Back to top