The funds will be given to the start-ups selected by different knowledge partners and agribusiness incubators in the area of agro-processing, food technology and value addition, he said. The funds will be provided under the Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development Programme launched under the revamped Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
“In the first phase, 112 start-ups in the area of agro processing, food technology and value addition will be funded for a sum of Rs 11.85 crore,” Tomar said in a statement. The funds will be released in instalments and the selected start-ups have been trained for two months at 29 agribusiness incubation centres spread across India, he said.
These startups will lead to employment opportunities for the youth. Besides, they, directly and indirectly, will contribute to enhancing the income of farmers by providing opportunities to them, he added.
The government has identified five knowledge partners as centres of excellence and 24 RKVY-RAFTAAR agribusiness incubators (R-ABIs) from across the country after a nationwide advertisement and a rigorous selection process.
Emphasising on increasing private investment in agriculture, Tomar said his vision is to attract the youth to agriculture and rejuvenate the sector. He also stressed the need to make agriculture competitive, provide handholding to agriculture-based activities and adopt new technology at the earliest.
Tomar also recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi — earlier in the month while reviewing the progress of agriculture research, extension and education in India — had emphasised on promoting start-ups and agri-entrepreneurs to ensure innovation and use of technology in agriculture and allied sectors.
Modi had also directed that hackathons may be organised twice a year to solve identified problems and meet design needs for tools and equipment that can reduce drudgery in farming activity, the minister added.