IIT-BHU’s incubation centre to support agri- tech startup ideas
As many as 30 farmers’ start-ups have been helped by MCIIE, IIT-BHU. Offering farming- related advanced technological mechanisms, these start-ups are converting ‘ideas’ into reality, and in the process making farming a sustainable and profit- yielding enterprise.Updated: Sep 02, 2019, 10:02 IST
While the central and state governments are proactively pursuing policies to improve farmers’ lives in India, what seems to be helping them most are numerous agritech startups.
Offering farming- related advanced technological mechanisms, these start-ups are converting ‘ideas’ into reality, and in the process making farming a sustainable and profit- yielding enterprise.
Take for example the case of Dharmendra Kumar Mishra, an organic farmer based in Mahoba district of Bundelkhand.
An expert in dry-land farming, he is credited with motivating farmers to grow grains such as wheat, pulses and flax seeds organically in the region. While he succeeded in helping these farmers get a good yield, he could not do much to help these farmers market their food grains.
It was then he thought of setting up a start-up, which could help these farmers sell their yield at a competitive price.
Like any other novice, he took the shelter of search engine google and ended up at the site of Malviya Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (MCIIE), IIT-BHU.
The centre helps nurture start-ups by imparting training to people.
Mishra contacted MCIIE chief Prof Pradip Kumar Mishra and shared his idea, who appreciated it enrolled Mishra at MCIIE for training.
In two weeks, Mahoba-based farmer was armed with wisdom on basics such as registering a company, generating funds, marketing, packaging and selling products.
And within months, his start-up Kakoon Organic Agrofood was ready. Today it helps as many as 200 organic farmers in Bundelkhand region in producing, processing, packaging, marketing and selling organic food grains.
Another such start-up, Vedictree Agro Dairy Products India, is helping farmers in the Aligarh region. Started by another progressive farmer, Abhinav Goswami, this startup uses technology in making logs from cow dung and agricultural waste. These cow dung-agro waste logs burn like wood. The farmers make an earning by selling cow dung now.
As many as 30 farmers’ start-ups have been helped by MCIIE, IIT-BHU.
“Our start-up is a new one. It is still a baby that is trying to walk. I am sure it will run fast in near future because it was born with a big goal to help organic farmers get good price of their produce so that their economic condition may improve,” Mishra says.
“Our start-up has helped channelize the process of collecting ghee of cow and organic food grains like flax seeds, wheat and many other food grains grow in dry-land. The organic food grains are processed, packed, and sold. Every farmer connected to the start-up get good price of the good grains.
Vedictree startup is helping the farmers in Jarara Khair, village of Aligarh region. Its works with motto: Journey towards villages.
Goswami says, “We promote ancient vedic agricultural technologies among the famers. By using these anecient methods of agriculture, farmers achieve good income and satisfaction and live life in harmony with the nature. Simultaneously, they help conserve soil because the farmers use green manure, cow dung manure.”
He further adds that the logs are made of agricultural waste and cow dung. Thus farmers make an earning even by selling cow dung.
MCIIE, IIT-BHU has also come up with a separate centre, Mahamana Agri Business Incubator (MABI) to train and support farmers interested in setting up agri start-ups.
The MABI has been set up under RKVY-RAFTAAR (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied sector Rejuvenation) scheme of the union government. The government had launched the scheme two years back to promote agri-entrepreneurship among farmers for increasing their income.
MABI, which sought innovative ideas for the start-up from farmers in July, got as many as 250 ideas.
Of them, 20 were selected for pre-seed stage training and 10 others for seed-stage training, said Prof Mishra, who heads MABI, along with MCIIE.
The centre is particularly helping Raju Patel, who owns a Mahuaa orchard, in setting up a start-up in making sweet products using Mahua flower.
Patel, and 19 others, after completing the training successfully will get financial assistance worth Rs 5 lakh each under RKVY-RAFTAR from the centre for basic infra development.
“More and more farmers are taking interest in setting up the start-ups. MABI also only converting their ideas into a reality,” says Prof Mishra.