The National Agricultural Policy announced by the Government accords a very high priority to application of frontier sciences like bio-technology, pre & post harvest technologies, adequate and timely supply of quality inputs, such as seeds, fertilisers, plant protection chemicals, bio-pesticides & control agents & agricultural machinery, strengthening of research and extension linkages and broad basing extension system.
To accelerate the diffusion of agricultural technology to the farmers and develop models of cropping systems research in association with the ICAR, National Agricultural Technology Project with World Bank assistance has already started functioning. Lack of adequate manpower and equipment, the declining utility & effectiveness of Training and Visit (T & V) System and lack of professionalism have, however, affected extension services in the country.
The 9th Five Year Plan had programmes for quality improvement and skill upgradation of extension personnel so that they could meet emerging challenges due to globalisation and commercialisation of agriculture. However, need was felt for supplementing the efforts of Government extension system to accelerate the process of technology transfer in agriculture. Apart from extension support, the farmers are also in need of supplementary sources of input supply and services for which, by and large, they presently depend upon public sector ageSncies and are getting less than satisfactory services.
Since Independence strong academic centres have been built up for imparting education in 11 disciplines related to agriculture at under-graduate level viz. Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Horticulture, Sericulture, Forestry, Fisheries, Dairy Technology, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Marketing, Food Technology and Home Science. Annually around 10,000 students are admitted at U.G. level in State Agriculture Universities (SAU) alone. It is estimated that the turn-out of agricultural graduates is around 17,000 per annum if agricultural colleges in general universities and other educational institutions are also taken into account. Still, only about 7000 to 8000 such graduates can be absorbed in employment avenues presently available in the Agriculture related jobs in both public / private sectors.
There is a large reservoir of graduates in new and emerging areas in agricultural sector which awaits to be tapped for providing support services to farmers through Agri - Clinics and or Agri-Business Centres, supplementing the efforts of Government and public sector agencies, and filling critical gaps therein. It was felt that, around 10,000 fresh graduates, besides other graduates, who are already working, might prefer to make it their profession to provide paid services to the farmers, if opportunities are available for providing technical services support in agriculture related ventures.
Thus, a need was felt for designing a programme for promoting such ventures as agri-clinics & agribusiness centres which could gainfully utilise the services and skills of agricultural graduates for supporting agriculture and allied activities, to complement Governmental efforts & to bring up the SPS standards of Indian agriculture. It was felt that, such deployment of trained and educated professionals would supplement and enhance the quality of the government development efforts.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, in association with NABARD has launched a unique programme to take better methods of farming to each and every farmer across the country. The Government is now also providing start-up training to graduates in Agriculture, or any subject allied to Agriculture like Horticulture, Sericulture, Veterinary Sciences, Forestry, Dairy, Poultry Farming, and Fisheries, etc. Those completing the training can apply for special start-up loans for venture.
- To supplement the efforts of Government extension system.
- To make available the supplementary sources of input supply and services to needy farmers
- To provide gainful employment to agriculture graduates in new emerging areas in agricultural sector
CONCEPT / DEFINITION
Agriclinics are envisaged to provide expert services and advice to farmers on cropping practices, technology dissemination, crop protection from pests and diseases, market trends and prices of various crops in the market and also clinical services for animal health etc. which would enhance productivity of crops/animals.
Agribusiness Centres would provide paid services for enhancement of agriculture production and income of farmers. Centres would need to advice farmers on crop selection, best farm practices, post-harvest value-added options, key agricultural information (including perhaps even Internet-based weather forecast), price trends, market news, risk mitigation and crop insurance, credit and input access, as well as critical sanitary and phyto-sanitary considerations, which the farmers have to keep in mind.
List of Ventures
- Soil and water quality cum inputs testing laboratories with ( Atomic absorption Spectrophotometres)
- Maintenance, repairs and custom hiring of agricultural implements and machinery including micro irrigation systems ( sprinkler and drip )
- Agro service centres including the three activities mentioning above.
- Seed processing units
- Micro propagation through plant tissue culture labs and hardening units.
- Setting up of Vermiculture units, production of bio-fertilizers, bio pesticides, bio- control agents.
- Setting up of Apiaries (bee keeping) and honey and bee product s processing units.
- Provision of Extension Consultancy Services
- Facilitation and agency of agricultural insurance services
- Hatcheries and production of fish finger lings for aquaculture
- Provision of livestock health cover, setting up of veterinary dispensaries and services including frozen semen banks and liquid nitrogen supply.
- Setting up of Information Technology Kiosks in rural areas for access to various agriculture related portals.
- Feed processing and testing units
- Value addition centres
- setting up of cool chain from the farm level onwards
- Post Harvest Management Centres for sorting, Grading, Standardisation, storage and Packaging.
- Setting up of Metallic and non metallic Storage structures
- Retail marketing out lets for processed Agricultural products.
- Rural marketing dealerships of farm inputs and out puts
Any combination of two and more of the above viable activities along with any other economically viable activity selected by graduates which is acceptable to the bank.
Soil, Water Quality & Input testing, Laboratory Service Centres
The objective of this is to undertake soil testing at reasonable costs, to undertake irrigation water quality testing, to undertake testing of some of the inputs, to provide recommendation on fertilizer application and fertility management, to arrange for suitable inputs like bio- Fertilizers, to provide guidance for soil reclamation and related technical areas, to train / demonstrate/ educate farmers in the technical areas of soil fertility development , integrated input use, improved compost making etc.
Plant Protection Service Centre
The objective of this is to provide guidance and consultancy services for control of various pests and diseases, nematodes and weeds at reasonable costs to the farmers, to undertake regular visits provide prescription, advice respond to the enquiries in case of needs as also undertake control operations at reasonable charges using their own equipment and inputs, to undertake plant protection services as the package deal , from seed to harvest with agreement to the farmers.
The objective of this is to provide cultural material of the desired species and train farmers and entrepreneurs, to demonstrate practically the production methodology on the unit that will be set up.
Horticulture Clinic & Business Centre
The objective is to create facilities for provision of the technical guidance, custom hiring services including grading and packing to the fruit growers under a single roof, to create additional job opportunities with in the village itself to the unemployed youth, to ensure easy availability of various horticulture inputs and technical extension services to the fruit growers to increase productivity.
Agro Service Centre - Farm Machinery
The objective is to enable farmers who can not afford bullocks or other farm machinery to hire services of agro service centre for farm operations, to make available various farm machineries for custom hire at one place - single window, to make available services of agro service centre for repair and maintenance of farm machinery owned by farmers.
Agro Service Centre - Farm Machinery & Primary Processing
The objective is to provide custom hire services facilities to the farmers, to improve timeliness in agricultural operations, to improve production and productivity of Indian agriculture, to improve post harvest processing facilities and profitability of farmers.
Private Veterinary Clinic with Small Dairy unit
The objective of this is to provide veterinary services to the farmers at the doorstep to rear good quality animals and to control infectious animal diseases and thus reduce morbidity and mortality, to cover large population of the breedable stock for genetic improvement.
Private Artificial Insemination Centre
The objective of this is to arrange delivery of vastly improved artificial insemination service at the doorstep of the farmer.
Agriclinic and Agribusiness centre funding agencieshttp://agritech.tnau.ac.in/agricultural_marketing/agrimark_Agriclinic%20centres.html
List of Recognised Training Organisations http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/agricultural_marketing/agrimark_AgriClinics_%20List.html
Guidelines and Terms and Conditionshttp://agritech.tnau.ac.in/agricultural_marketing/agrimark_AgriClinics_Guidelines.html