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Agribusiness Centres for Rural Employment Generation
7/4/2020 12:44:37 AM

Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma

Agriculture is the mainstay in the Indian economy. Despite planned industrialization in the last five decades, agriculture still occupies the significant place in our country. Agriculture is the largest industry in our country and it provides employment to around 65 per cent population. It is not possible to serve all the farmers, all the time for all the problems when the ratio of extension worker and farmer is more than 1:1000. The new WTO policies have come up with the strong influence of international markets. The Indian farmers need to work very hard to produce the quality goods in order to compete with the international standards. The present assistance is not sufficient to make the Indian farmers up to international standards. There is a need of specialized advice to the farmers. The Govt. Machinery need to be more qualified and trained for rendering the advice to the farmers. There is a need of the strong extension system for the dissemination of agricultural information to the farmers. Specialized agri-services on agri processing, milk processing, soil testing, seed treatment, balance doses of fertilizers, agricultural information sources, self help groups, post harvest management etc. are needed for the farmers. This gap can be filled by the agricultural graduates of the country. If the right kind of guidance and support is provided to them they can start their own business on agriculture or allied activities. Around 10,000 agricultural graduates are available every year to support the agricultural system of the country if the viable business opportunities are provided to them. Employment opportunities can be created for these agricultural graduates in the agricultural and allied sectors. For this purpose Govt. of India has launched a scheme in association with NABARD called Agribusiness and Agriclinic Centres. The agricultural graduates have lot of scope to start their own business and they further can create the self employment for the younger generation. This programme helps the agricultural graduates to start their own Agriclinic or Agribusiness Centres and can offer the agri-services to the farmers. The Govt. provides the training to the agricultural graduates in agriculture and allied sectors like horticulture, veterinary science, forestry, sericulture, fisheries etc. Agribusiness centres provide input supply, farm equipments on hire basis and other services to the farmers. Agriclinics provide expert services and advice to the farmers on different crops, insect-pest and disease management, technology dissemination market facilities, animal health clinical services etc. The farmers can strengthen their economic and social strengths with the help of agribusiness and agriclinic centres. By making the self help groups the farmers can meet their contingent obligations without going to the money lenders or other private sources. The banks financing to the farmers can help the farmers to make the self help groups which help to develop the credibility amongst themselves. The objectives of Agribusiness centres are to provide gainful employment to agricultural graduates, to supplement the efforts on government extension system and to make supplementary sources of input supply and services to the needy farmers.
The activities involved in agribusiness are as extension services, soil and water quality testing laboratories, pest diagnostic and control services, production of fish finger-lings for aquaculture, setting of veterinary dispensaries and services including frozen semen banks, maintenance and repair of agricultural implements and machinery including micro irrigation system, seed processing units, feed processing and testing units, value addition centres, setting up of information technology kiosks in rural areas, setting of vermicompost units, production of bio pesticide and bio control units, develop marketing outlets, setting up of apiaries(beekeeping) and honey units. Any combination of two or more of the viable activities along with any economical activity can be selected by the agricultural graduates. The project can be taken by the agricultural graduates either individually or on cooperative basis. The cost of the project taken by the individual would be 10 lakhs and for the group would be 50 lakhs. The group normally consists of five members of which one could be management graduate with experience in business. The rate of interest charged by the financing bank depends upon the amount of loan and type of bank. The period of loan varies from five years to ten years depending upon the activity. The schedule of repayment period includes a grace period decided, to be decided by the sponsoring bank as per individual project of maximum of two years. The selection of beneficiaries is done by the banks officials in consultation with agricultural universities, agri management institutions, agricultural departments etc. All other terms and conditions will be applicable to the agribusiness centres. The applications are invited by the Agribusiness consortium by an advertisement through different media giving all the details of the project decided by the government and banks. The model projects out lines of around twenty identified projects are made available at agricultural offices, NABARD etc. The model helps the beneficiaries to identify the area in which they want to develop their business. They also become able to prepare their own techno economic feasibility for projecting the banks.
The farmers’ awareness must be given in the rural areas by imparting training to the farmers in the rural areas and this work can be given to the agricultural graduates. In present era there is need to make the strenuous efforts by the government sectors and private sectors for the dissemination of agricultural information to the farmers. The specialized agri-services are lacking in the country and there is need to increase them. The rural farmers purchase the goods from the village retailers and rural farmers are cheated when they purchase their agricultural inputs. The farmers’ protection movements should be initiated and more and more awareness can be created among them. The agribusiness centres should be started in the villages and the distribution of agribusiness inputs need to be very effective and every farmer should get the essential agricultural inputs on time and in required quantity. By doing these kind of agri-services in a systematic and efficient way in the rural areas we can generate employment in the rural areas for the agri graduates and also we can provide timely agri-services to the farmers.
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