Friday, 22 May 2015

CIIE to launch food, agri business accelerator

The IIM-Ahmedabad’s technology business incubator, Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), on Thursday announced the launch of India’s first food and agri-business accelerator in partnership with a-IDEA, business incubator at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM).
The programme aims to accelerate, nurture and invest in innovative early stage start-ups that have the potential to become scalable and competitive food and agri ventures. Selected start-ups will be provided with intensive capacity building, mentoring and advisory support, CIIE said in a statement here.
Applications for the three-month programme will be accepted until June 12, 2015. More information on the programme is available at
Seed investment
Top two teams would be provided a seed investment of up to Rs. 30 lakh each by CIIE, NAARM and Goa-based agri-focused incubator Center for Innovation and Business Acceleration (CIBA).
Further, CIIE’s sustainability focused fund Infuse Ventures may invest up to Rs. 1 crore per venture in start-ups in sustainable agriculture areas like precision farming, supply chain tech, soil, weather and water tech, ICT/IoT for agriculture.
CIIE has also partnered with leading agri-focused funds such as Omnivore Partners, Aspada Investments and Rural Agri Ventures, who will consider the ventures for potential investments.
In addition to these, other strategic partners such as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, IDMC Ltd and Agri Investor (a global media platform for agri investments) would provide mentoring support to the start-ups to help them become investment-ready.
While the agri investments have picked up in the recent years, support for start-ups at the early and pre-revenue stages continues to be limited. “With this accelerator, we will be able to scout, accelerate and invest in start-ups that are trying to address the existing gaps in this sector through product and process innovation,” the statement said.
Applications for this accelerator will be invited from early-stage start-ups working on breakthrough technologies and business models in various food and agri-business sectors such as precision farming, farm mechanisation, sustainable inputs, new post-harvesting technologies, healthy/ innovative food tech, farm fresh retail, supply chain tech, soil, water and weather tech, ICT/IoT for agriculture.

Source:TheHindu Businessline

UP emerges as biggest contributor to India’s agriculture sector: ASSOCHAM study:

LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh has emerged as biggest contributor to India's agriculture and allied sector as of 2013-14 with a share of about 13%, according to a recent ASSOCHAM study. 

"Agriculture and allied sector contributes just over 22% to UP's gross state domestic product (GSDP) as of 2013-14," highlighted the study titled 'States Emergence: A comparative analysis of growth & development,' conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). 

"UP has acquired 15th position amid top 20 states in India with a mere 3.2 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in agriculture and allied sector during the decadal period of 2004-05 and 2013-14," noted the study prepared by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB). 

"UP government needs to take corrective measures to revive agriculture production as it is chiefly an agrarian state and holds tremendous potential to attract significant investments in agri-infrastructure like wholesale and retail trading, storage, distribution and irrigation sectors," said Mr D.S. Rawat, national secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chamber's study. 

ASSOCHAM has given following recommendations to UP government to perk up state's agriculture scenario. 

1: Disconnect between farmers and consumers or market is a major cause of farmers not able to benefit fully from modern scientific developments in farm industry. "This disconnect should be corrected through programs like E-Choupal (an experiment of ITC). 

2: Old mandi system should be replaced with modern competitive supply chains that would synergize agriculture and farm economy. 

3: Information related to monsoon, agriculture price of crop should be provided to farmers as per their convenience so that it could fetch maximum benefits for them. Information through mobile and Internet should be extended in order to provide better service. 

4: Farming should be encouraged and promoted through providing best price of crop to the farmers. Trade fairs should be organized especially in rural areas with the participation of farmers through public-private partnership (PPP) model. 

5: New commercial crops should be sought for and promoted to break the monotonous and risky dependence on single crop in the hinterland. 

6: Contract farming concept should be implemented on a bigger scale and large farms should be promoted either through consolidation or outright purchases. 

7: Better seeds, top-quality farm equipment, fertilizers and others should be provided to farmers. Besides, better water conservation and proper irrigation management should be implemented in rural areas by creating awareness of its respective benefits amid farmers. 

8: Government should provide agriculture insurance schemes to farmers who are involved in large scale farming and a PPP model could be developed for providing comprehensive insurance for agri-crops in the Rabi and Kharif season especially for sugar, pulses, wheat, rice and other prominent crops. 

Source:Times of India

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

M&M to buy 33% in Mitsubishi Agri Machinery for $25 million

M&M to buy 33% in Mitsubishi Agri Machinery for $25 million
M&M will acquire the stake through a fresh issue of common shares and non-voting or Class A shares, the company said, adding the deal will be closed by 1 October. Photo: Bloomberg
Mumbai: Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) on Thursday said it will buy 33% stake in Japan’s Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery Co. Ltd for ¥3 billion ($25 million). In a stock exchange notice, M&M said the two companies will jointly develop products such as tractors and farm equipment.
M&M will acquire the stake through a fresh issue of common shares and non-voting or Class A shares, the company said, adding the deal will be closed by 1 October.
“This will enable strategic growth avenues for Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery through Mahindra USA, China and other international markets thereby speeding up international expansion. It will also provide a platform for both the companies to leverage technology and product development synergies,” said Rajesh Jejurikar, president and chief executive (farm equipment and two-wheeler division), M&M.
Mitsubishi Agriculture, which is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, makes tractors, harvesters and transplanters. Besides Japan, it is present in several southeast Asian countries and the US, and had a turnover of $408 million in 2015. M&M is India’s leading farm equipment and tractor maker.
At 11am, M&M shares were up 0.34% to Rs.1,255.95 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex was down 0.24% to 27,783.25 points.


Maharashtra plans reduction of agri loan interest rate

The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said that in view of the agriculture distress in the State, the government is considering a reduction in the interest rate from 12 per cent to 6 per cent for crops loans.
Fadnavis said the government is also mulling increasing the loan repayment period from three to five years. After a loan is availed, there would be a one-year moratorium on the collection of principal and interest by the banks.
He said for the development of cotton growing district of Amravati and Yavatmal, his government is also concentrating its attention on developing the local textile industry. Incentives for setting up textile units have already been provided and eight large units have been set up in the districts.
Amravati and Yavatmal districts have seen the highest number of farmer suicides in the State.
Fadnavis said the State Cabinet has also decided to amend the Factories Act of 1948, which will provide for over-time duty for industrial workers. The workers will not be required to take prior permission from the management for working over-time. The cap on over-time hours in a fiscal has also been increased from 75 days to 115 days, he said.

Source: TheHindu Businessline

Centre to launch agri-training prog in 593 Sansad Adarsh Grams

To boost farm productivity, the Centre is planning to launch soon an agri-training programme in 593 villages under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, one of the flagship schemes of Prime Minister Modi. 

The nodal Agriculture Ministry is working out the training programme guidelines for implementation in each village adopted by Members of under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY). 

"The training programme would most likely start during the forthcoming kharif season (beginning July). We are targeting to cover 593 notified Sansad Adarsh Grams," a senior Agriculture Ministry official said. 

Under the proposed programme, the government plans to conduct field-level demonstrations on organic farming, testing of soil health and agri-technologies including use of different machineries for raising crop productivity. 

The agri-training programme, to be conducted for two days in each village, will be implemented by the National Centre of Organic Farming and Central Fertiliser Quality Control and Training Institute along with the support of the state governments, the official said. 

The training would aim to create awareness among farmers on how the use of farm technologies and balanced use of fertilisers and even organic inputs can help achieve better crop yields. 

SAGY, which was launched in October 2014, is a rural development programme that primarily focuses upon the development in villages.

Source :Business Standard

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Gujarat aims to improve organic farm area by 10 times over five years

government will spend about Rs 10 crore in a year to promote in the state under the organic farming policy.

The government had announced the policy in April this year. A state government official had last week released a souvenir containing the policy and its Gujarati translation in a special programme organised by Jatan, a non government organisation working for promotion of sustainable and organic agriculture, in Ahmedabad.

“The state government is committed to promote organic farming and has allocated Rs 10 crore in the current financial year for this purpose,” said B R Shah, managing director of Gujarat organic product certification agency and director of horticulture department, Gujarat.

Gujarat is the ninth state to declare a policy for organic farming after Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Shah said, “We will initially focus on tribal areas and helpwith certification, marketing and brand building as well.”

An organic cell will be created under the department of agriculture to implement the policy and Gujarat Organic Farming Committee will be constituted to monitor the implementation of the policy.

As part of framing the policy, the state had interacted with more than 1,200 people including 650 farmers, 130 scientists and hundreds others, who submitted their opinions in verbal and written form across seven public consultations.

All four agricultural universities of the state, which presided over the function, stated that the varsities are in process to develop seeds and package of practices for organic farming.

The state government aims to increase organic farming area by ten times over the next five years. Current farm area under organic cultivation across the state is nearly 4,000 acres.

In India, 4.72 million hectares of farm is under organic cultivation while close to 135 types of farm produce were exported in 2013-14. Export volume constituted of 2.19 million tonnes worth $403 million.

Devinder Sharma of Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security, New Delhi, “Gujarat is a symbol of progressiveness. The rest of India looks to Gujarat. Therefore, it is critical that Gujarat charts this progressive path in organic farming.”

With a view to ensure higher price realisation, branding and proper marketing is crucial. The policy will provide assistance for creating brands, brand promotion, arrangement of buyer-seller meets, market-led extension and exhibition. The product of organic farmers, simultaneously, shall be linked with agri export zones.

Source: Business Standard

Announcing: the ‪#‎Forests2015‬ photo competition

Announcing: the #Forests2015 photo competition

Forests and trees are important to the well-being and livelihoods of people everywhere, especially in rural areas. Hundreds of millions of people rely on forests for food, energy and shelter. They have tremendous potential to contribute to sustainable development and to a greener economy.
Enter the Forests and People Photo Contest to help raise awareness about the importance of forests for people today and for generations to come, and you could win a trip to the Congress! All photo entries should feature both forests (or forest products) and people.
Award-winning Magnum Photos photographer Stuart Franklin will lead the jury. Franklin is perhaps best known for his celebrated photograph of a man defying a tank in Tiananmen Square, China, in 1989, as well as his photographic essay The Time of Trees, which examines the social relationship between nature and society.
The prize for the winner will be a trip to the Congress (travel, accommodation and registration fee), as well as a portfolio review by Stuart Franklin. The winning photograph and 15 runners-up will also feature in a XIV World Forestry Congress calendar.

For more info:

Source: The #Forests2015 Blog