Shri Parshottambhai Rupala, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare today launched the CII NABCONS publication on ‘Innovative Business Models emerging through COVID19’.
The compendium is an attempt to capture innovations - policy as well as business related - in the light of Covid and asses how these will shape the sector going forward and bring in more resilience.
Speaking at the launch Hon’ble Minister of State mentioned that timely prioritization of agriculture as essential and progressive marketing reforms towards 'One Nation-One Market' thereafter have ensured positive growth for the agriculture sector. He also highlighted that an encouraging development has been the active engagement of farmers as a key value chain partners and these partnerships will be the building blocks for driving the sector towards the vision of 'Uttam Kheti'.
Dr G R Chintale, Chairman, NABARD highlighted the role NABARD is playing in strengthening the partnerships between farmers/FPOS and industry. He mentioned that NABARD has taken several initiatives towards helping stakeholders tide over the COVID19 crisis. Interest subvention, rescheduling of payments, easing working capital financing have been prioritized to ease liquidity crunch. NABARD has extended additional liquidity worth ? 30,000 crore for farmers over and above the ? 90,000 crore provided through the normal refinance route. Going forward learnings from the emerging partnerships will help shape up farm gate infrastructure creation under the Agri infrastructure fund. He also mentioned that a separate line of credit has been set up under Agri infrastructure fund for PACS.
Mr Sanjiv Puri, Chairman CII National Council on Agriculture and Chairman & Managing Director, ITC Ltd remarked that while Government did its bit, businesses also adapted swiftly and came up with several innovative partnerships towards maintaining business continuity and ensuring delivery of essential goods to their customers. While on one hand these ensured customers’ needs during the global pandemic were met, they also showcased new models of partnerships within value chain players and most of these innovative models will become the norm going forward.
Briefing on the publication Mr K V Rao, Managing Director NABCONS highlighted that the Compendium focuses on the various innovations in terms of Policy, State Government initiatives involving SHGs, innovations by farmer producer organizations and in addition it carries 26 key Industry innovations in greater detail coving their impact and outreach. These innovations cover the segments of Delivery and Logistic, Sourcing, Agriculture Extension, Customer Interface and Product and Packaging Innovations
Going forward learnings from these partnerships can be leveraged to identify structural transformation, collaborative actions, market integration and technology innovations needed for linking clusters to organized supply chains. The existing partnerships can also be leveraged to identify farm gate infrastructure gaps in the clusters and handholding for bridging these gaps.
With consumers focus on safety and convenience last mile cold chain network connectivity emerged as a key requirement.
With challenges faced on logistics, innovations were seen in terms of increasing usage of alternative modes of transport for perishables. What was interesting to see was not only agri produce but also agri machinery was delivered using alternative modes of transport like railways.
On extension front, while digital media was increasingly used to disseminate information what was interesting to see was partnerships in advanced technology solutions to deliver block chain led solutions for traceability or low-cost automatic GPS enabled solutions for soil moisture estimation. These partnerships also provide opportunities for employment generation by engagement of trained youth. However, focus needs to be on ITI’s to train new generation of digital extension agents. The KVK network can also be roped into these partnerships to provide on field delivery infrastructure.
With physical interactions minimized, innovations were also seen in customer interface leveraging technology to create digital platforms to continuously communicate with the customers and resolve queries as needed. A lot of processes also became digital and unnecessary paperwork was eliminated.
The pandemic also provided companies with an opportunity for product innovations towards maintaining consumer health and maintaining product demand. Healthy variants of a lot of products entered into the market. This in the longer term will positively impact overall nutrition security towards ‘Ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition’. It will also open interesting avenues for new generation entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.
The innovative business models have led to a reduction of cost for companies, ease of access for consumers and also built farmer resilience. The innovations have showcased that with planned partnerships, which are a win-win for all parties, Indian Agriculture holds the potential to not only tide over the challenge of the pandemic, but also grow in scale and resilience. Most of these emerging channels are likely to become mainstream in the new normal even after the pandemic passes.
10 September 2020