Need to strengthen rural ecosystem to support agriculture startups: Anurag Singh Thakur

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More rural startups should be strengthened with a view to create jobs and provide additional income support to agrarian sector, said minister of state for finance Anurag Singh Thakur.

“There are a large number of agriculture-based startups today. We need to strengthen rural startup ecosystem to encourage setting up of more rural startups by rural youth,” he said adding that this will help promote alternate income generation in rural areas.

Unemployment is a major challenge faced by rural youth due to lack of skill and education, he said adding that various government agencies are promoting and engaging capacity building of startups, incubators, especially in agriculture and allied activities.

Thakur was speaking at the inauguration of National Bank For Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) 38th Foundation Day function here. He said that in view of the low rate of technology adoption in agriculture sector, it is crucial to enable seamless hybridisation of relevant technology by building a sustainable distribution model.

“India needs to create agripreneurs for which skilling and tech-enabled services are crucial. Agri-based e-commerce platforms, farm monitoring, linking with Fintech will help make youths become agripreneurs,” he said adding that while government is supporting the sector significantly, public-private partnership is essential for boosting the agriculture startup culture in India, which could be a new engine for employment.

Pointing out that the government’s focus is on ‘Gaon, Garib and Kisan’, he said, big investment has been lined up and private sector support is required for building rural infrastructure.

With regard to e-NAM platform, he said, some changes have taken place and more needs to be done to make it more efficient so that farmers can directly sell their produce and get better price.

Thakur further said the government is committed to achieving $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.

“We will together achieve this and bring India in the top four economies in the world,” he said.

Nabard chairman Harsh Kumar Bhanwala said the bank would fund around 100 agricultural and rural Startups during current financial year which would boost innovations and farm entrepreneurship.

The organisation would infuse around Rs 1,000 crore into agri and rural startup ecosystem, he said, adding, a separate subsidiary company –NABVENTURES — floated by Nabard will help achieve this.

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