Sowing the seeds of success
Medha started working with students from the agricultural sciences and allied technologies background in 2019. This group comes with its own set of career aspirations and mentoring needs, looking at which we have been developing a model to promote agripreneurship among agri-graduates.
Identifying the Need for a Support System for Agri-Graduates
In a conversation with our team Ayodhya, many of the agri-students and graduates expressed a wish to join government service, very few the private sector, and fewer to become entrepreneurs in agribusiness. The students aspiring to become entrepreneurs in agri-business mentioned the lack of a support system to convert their ideas and interests into reality.
Taking an opportunity to support them, we set up a Career Services Center at ANDUAT (Acharya Narendra Deva University of Agriculture & Technology), Ayodhya. Within a short span, we trained about 200 students in computer skills and soft skills, also giving them multiple opportunities to interact with professionals from the agribusiness sector.
Kumari Vaishno, a Medha alumni from ANDUAT, shares, “Agriculture is much more than just farming. It requires a lot of skills and patience and teaches me many values, bringing me closer to my roots!”
Looking at Farming as a Viable Sector with Potential Business Opportunities
By integrating the newest technology into traditional farming practices with their start-ups, many graduates can become job-creators across the ‘farm to fork’ value chain and play an instrumental role in doubling the farmers’ income.
To generate more awareness, we organized a panel discussion-YouthScape, themed ‘Agripreneurship – The Future of Farming.’ The event was hosted at the university campus and co-led by Medha students and staff. The event visualized farming as a value chain, underscoring various opportunities in it.
The students got to engage with several panelists from the ecosystem; incubators, bankers, farmers, and entrepreneurs. Seeing their active participation, some panelists offered students their mentoring support. The ANDUAT authorities also encouraged them to use the university resources to pilot-test their entrepreneurial ideas.
Assisting the Youth in Nurturing, Incubating and Growing ideas
Rubaru is an experiential learning journey that our alumni take on to explore their personal goals and aspirations. Season 8 of Rubaru was planned keeping young entrepreneurs and their business ideas in mind and took the participants to Anand, Gujarat. Four of the participants for the season were agri-graduates aspiring to be entrepreneurs.
The participants attended a program on entrepreneurship development at the prestigious IRMA. By combining expert-led training on entrepreneurship topics, with field visits to local enterprises and the AMUL plant, the program allowed the students to work on their entrepreneurial ideas and pitch them to the experts at IRMA.
While Saurabh, a student from the fisheries science stream, presented his business plan of hatching and selling fish eggs, Raghvendra, from agricultural science, had a business idea to prepare and sell Ayurvedic juice made from the extracts of real fruits.
Saurabh and Raghvendra are future agripreneurs, and some structured handholding and guidance could turn their ideas into successful businesses and lead to the betterment of India’s agrarian sector.
Bridging the Gap between Crisis and Solutions
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has led to a massive reverse-migration of informal workers back to rural areas. It has exposed the economy’s fragility and unsustainability, proving that the plight of the urban poor is worse than the rural poor.
The roles of agriculture and agripreneurship would be critical in the post-COVID recovery phase since it makes even more sense now to focus on ‘rural’ and ‘local.’
Medha aims to do just that, building entrepreneurship skills amongst agri-graduates, so they are not only self-equipped but could also mentor the locals, creating opportunities for both parties.
The whole economy in the post-COVID era awaits a paradigm shift, and that is possible with agri-graduates becoming agripreneurs, leaders of the future!