RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITY
The importance of organic food has become more important than ever in these times. Thus, Samarth Bharat Trust, a professional supply chain management project, on the lines of #atmanirbhar bharat, has started the Agropreneurship Development Program in association with Liv Synergy (NGO) and RCPR College Of Agriculture, Ponda.
The program consists of a day-long workshop wherein participants are enlightened on the various aspects of agriculture and the agro-based industry, apart from learning business skills, development and communication skills, code of conducts, ethics, word of mouth publicity, how to retain customers, etc. They are also provided help to get finance, financial planning, procurement of material, equipment, and support system with the help of a mentor.
According to president, Samarth Bharat, Uday Deshmukh, the COVID-19 pandemic made them realise that they were tackling not just a health but also a financial crisis. And with various services affected, and no income coming in, Goans were moved to look at new avenues to earn money.
“During the pandemic we saw a different kind of a Goan entrepreneur. For example: The taxi drivers were seen selling coconuts in their air conditioned vehicles which they used to transport tourists from airports to the hotels. We also saw a lot of people coming up with innovative ideas wherein they started home delivery of food essentials to fulfil the requirements of people. Even outside their house people put a table and were selling coconuts,’’ says Deshmukh, adding that a lot of people got into the food essentials market because during the lockdown the only three places that were operational were pharmacies, the grocery stores, and milk and vegetable stores.
In the various surveys they conducted, they realised that it was not just out of passion but out of need that people started doing these businesses.
“The entrepreneurship we saw in our Goans during the lockdown period was amazing. However, we felt that it might not be sustainable because they did not have professional training or coaching about business management. So that is when we thought of coming up with the Agropreneurship Development Program. To have a self-reliant or self-sustainable Goa we need to have self-reliant and self-sustainable agripreneurs,” he says.
And Deshmukh states that they want to bring all individuals be it farmers, farmers clubs, agriculturists, agripreneurs, and people who are already doing their little bit in growing some chemical free vegetables and fruits, on one platform. “We also want to help them connect with the consumer. We can give them a supply chain management service wherein it could reach the consumer who is getting good products for a good price,” he says, adding they also want to make sure that the farmers get a fair price.
Designed especially to motivate youth to become agripreneurs, chairman of RCPR School of Agriculture, Manguirish Pai Raikar says that there are a lot of unemployed youth whom they are trying to convert into agripreneurs. “There are different ways and forms they can start their business. We are promoting nurseries, urban farming, selling of fruits and vegetables, dairy and poultry products,” he says.
And because of the pandemic, says Raikar, there is a need to avoid going out and buying things. “So if one becomes an agripreneur he can stop his truck at one junction in a village and people could buy vegetables at their doorstep,” he says. “If we have many agripreneurs, the whole of Goa will be covered. And it is not just restricted to horticulture. They can even sell regular food items. So it is a vast spectrum. We have also done listing of the farmers who are in a position to supply the material.”
Having begun with the program in August, three batches have already completed training and have been since inducted in their chosen business initiative in the field of agriculture and allied agro activity. So far they have created130 agripreneurs and by the end of March 2021, they aim to create 1000.
The workshop is open to all resident Goans who are either connected as a farmer community or who would like to get associated with agriculture activities. Students also can learn as well as earn by looking after home deliveries. “We have only 25 participants for each workshop and we give preference to people who are actually in need, or who really have something to offer, or who are really in a position of starting an agripreneurship business,” says Deshmukh.
Since the workshop has received a good response, they plan to continue as long as people keep enrolling.
Samarth Bharat Trust
Samarth Bharat Trust (SBT) is a professional supply chain management project which has come up as a result of conceptualisation by a group of professionals in Goa on the lines of #atmanirbhar bharat
The objective of SBT is to develop professionally managed supply chain system which will ensure supply of good quality (healthy, hygienic and safe) food essentials at the right time and at the right price to end consumers from the farmer who in turn gets a fair pricing for his produce with the aim of creating health conscious society.
One of the several goals of SBT is to create agro-entrepreneurs or agropreneurs who will be integral part of this project. Samarth Bharat Management team has resolved to train probable agropreneurs/agro-entrepreneurs, to enhance business, communication, self- confidence, financial planning, soft skills development with the help of professional corporate trainers and experts from various experienced fields like food technology, home based agro- industry, kitchen gardening, finance, marketing/sales, e-commerce, digital/social Media, etc.