In order to recognise significant contributions to farmers through agri-clinics and agribusiness services, Government of India conferred National Awards to 82 Best Agripreneurs who were trained under the Central sector scheme – Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business (AC&ABC) on the occasion of National Youth Day, also known as Vivekananda Jayanti, on Thursday. Besides, 8 Nodal Training Institutes (NTIs) that impart AC&ABC training efficiently also received awards for their best training, handholding and facilitation activities.
Over 850 agripreneurs from all parts of the country; senior officials from Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India; National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad; senior managers from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), lead banks, scientists from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and private agribusiness companies attended the award ceremony held at NASC Complex in New Delhi.
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Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business (AC&ABC), a mega flagship scheme of Government of India implemented in the country in collaboration with NABARD since 2002, aims to transform unemployed youth into self-employed agripreneurs through a 45 days free residential training at different parts of the country with a provision for availing loan and subsidy from the banks. The AC&ABC scheme is being implemented by MANAGE in various states in the country with a network of 136 nodal training institutes (NTIs) spread across all the states.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. P Chandra Shekara, Director General, MANAGE, in his welcome address said, “So far 83,810 agri-graduates were trained under AC&ABC scheme and about 36,560 have established agri-ventures in the rural areas. They are able to achieve self-employment by providing services to farmers and also create jobs to rural youth.”
Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, inaugurated the award ceremony and distributed awards to the best agripreneurs and best nodal training institutes.
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In her address, Thakur said, the Agripreneur Awards have come a long way since being instituted two decades ago. The rising numbers of agriprenuers prove that the youth is getting attracted to the agriculture sector. She appealed to the youth to avail of funding from the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, NABARD and the banking sector.
During the presentations and discussions, senior officers from MA&FW, MANAGE, NABARD, lead banks and the agribusiness sector shared the policy reform in AC&ABC, the latest developments in AC&ABC, subsidies and loans under AC&ABC and explained opportunities for agripreneurs under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, National Beekeeping and Honey Mission and RKVY-RAFTAAR.
The speakers who participated in the presentations and discussion included Sajith Kumar Kunhalath, Director, MA&FW; Nivedita Tiwary, General Manager, Dept. of Refinance, NABARD; Shantanu Pendse, CGM (ABU&GSS), SBI, Mumbai; Manish Saxena, Senior IT Consultant, AIF PMU; Naveen Kumar Patale ED, NBB; Balram Singh, Joint Director (Extension Reforms), MA&FW; Dr Shahaji Phand, Principal Coordinator, AC&ABC, MANAGE; and Anil Kumar SG, CEO, Samunnati.