Agri entrepreneurship seems to have emerged as a sunrise sector in the post-Covid phase, offering opportunities in agriculture and allied sectors.
The MSME sector, which has been badly affected by the pandemic, is keenly looking at opportunities in the agri-business and agri industrial sector to tide over the crisis. But its success requires location specificity and market-centred production strategies, said TP Sethumadhavan, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department.
He stressed the need for appropriate market-linkage programmes to make farming operations viable and sustainable. To achieve this, adoption of good agricultural practices, technology and micro irrigation methods is the need of the hour.
Educated youth have started venturing into agri entrepreneurship with technology-enabled marketing platforms, he said in an interaction.
Insights from CII study
Quoting a CII study, Sethumadhavan, who is also a farming expert, said that 30 per cent of agriculture enterprises are running at profit, 35 per cent at break-even level and the rest 35 per cent activities are at loss. A huge opportunity awaits ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook food products.
To improve production and productivity during the post-Covid phase, he suggested promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and technology. Precision-farming methods would pave the way to optimise cost of production and productivity.
Since consumer preference for organic and natural products would rise in the coming years, he urged the youth to set up start-up ventures in agriculture. Productivity-enhancement programmes, coupled with appropriate value addition, would create more opportunities.
Kerala is selling raw agriculture produce like jackfruit, rubber, banana, tapioca, spices, etc. Appropriate value addition of products in tune with the overseas market demand would help fetch more returns. For instance, the production of animal protein sources such as milk, egg, meat and meat products is a potential measure to address food security and protein malnutrition. However, the policies and programmes related to this sector would be one of the thrust areas in the post-Covid phase, he pointed out.