National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), India’s apex development financial institution, would give a push to agri and rural start-ups in the country with a view to generate employment opportunities in the rural areas.
Delivering the Foundation Day Seminar inaugural address, Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State, Finance highlighted the need to attract youth to agriculture and build a technology-driven ecosystem for agri-entrepreneurship and called for concerted efforts to create a large base of agricultural start-ups. He inaugurated the Seminar titled ‘Engaging Rural Youth Gainfully’ organised on the occasion of 38th Foundation day of NABARD. On the occasion, the Minister felicitated 5 agri business start-ups funded by NABARD and also released a book profiling 9 such personalities.
“India needs to create agripreneurs for which skilling and tech-enabled services are crucial. Agri-based e-commerce platforms, farm monitoring, linking with fintech will help make youths become agripreneurs. While the Government is supporting the sector significantly, the public-private partnership is essential for boosting the agriculture start-up culture in India, which could be a new engine for employment,” said Shri Thakur.
Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman, NABARD revealed that the bank would fund around 100 agricultural and rural start-ups during current financial year which would boost innovations and farm entrepreneurship. He said that NABARD would infuse around Rs 1000 crore into agri and rural start-ups ecosystem. He said that a separate subsidiary company NABVENTURES floated by NABARD will help achieve this.
NABARD has presently supported 16 Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) with Rs 272 crore to finance over 50 agri enterprises. The newly launched NABVENTURES, to finance new start up enterprises, has already launched its first fund with a targeted corpus of Rs 500 crore with green shoe option of Rs 200 crore. The first closure of the fund is over with an investment of Rs 200 crore from NABARD. It will focus on investments in early mid stage startups in agriculture, agri tech, food and rural businesses.