Taking major policy initiatives for agricultural startups, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar made several key announcements today. In the Agri Startup Conference organised on the second day of PM Kisan Samman Sammelan at Pusa Mela Ground, Delhi, the agriculture minister informed that a high-level steering committee would be constituted under his chairmanship for overall guidance of the agricultural startup ecosystem. A Rs. 500 crore accelerator programme for taking forward and popularising the successful initiatives of agri startups will be started.
Amidst a large gathering of agri-startup delegates, Tomar announced that an Executive Committee would be constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary Agriculture, comprising of concerned agencies like the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), agricultural incubators and knowledge partners, agricultural universities, research institutes, top investors and other stakeholders. Also, a separate division will be created under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary for agricultural startups in the Ministry of Agriculture. A cell will also be created to work as a single window agency for agri startups to facilitate all linkages required with certification agencies, financial institutions, and agricultural universities among other stakeholders.
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Tomar informed that a market linkage will be created with organisations like e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) to meet the market needs of the products developed by the agri startups. A portal will also be developed to create a database for all agricultural startups and monitor their development. Tomar said that efforts would be made to organise Agri Startup Conclave at national and regional levels to promote startups in the agriculture sector.
The agriculture minister said that the government is committed to develop the technology. The government wants startups to be useful to the country and the world by solving the existing challenges. In this direction, the Ministry of Agriculture, along with the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and other institutions including the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is working with utmost commitment. Tomar said that it is necessary to popularise technology, only then people will get its real benefits, as well as technology, should be affordable to the common man. Startups should work by deciding their focus and sector so that farmers can draw full benefits from their output. In view of the rising population of the country and the world, one should also work for food security, especially in view of the challenges of climate change. Startups should innovate with vision and determination. Tomar said that the Government of India has stood shoulder to shoulder and walked step by step with the startups towards this goal.
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Union Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Kailash Choudhary and Shobha Karandlaje were also present on the occasion. Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja and Director General of ICAR, Dr. Himanshu Pathak also addressed the conclave. Initially, representatives of hundreds of startups from across the country put forward their key suggestions to the ministers.