14 agri start-ups from Tamil Nadu to get funding under Central scheme

The start-ups will get ₹56.90 lakh, as the first instalment, out of the total ₹1.32 crore sanctioned

As many as 14 agriculture start-ups from Tamil Nadu will be receiving a total funding of ₹56.90 lakh, as the first instalment out of the total ₹1.32 crore sanctioned by the Centre, under the Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development Programme component of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India had conceived of the scheme to promote innovation and agripreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem. It had appointed the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad as knowledge partner for the Southern States Incubation Centres and Technology Business Incubator-Agribusiness Incubation Society (ABIS) at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore to train start-ups from the State.

Under the scheme, grants are provided for start-ups to build on their business ideas and for those who are already in business and want to scale up, and the release of funds is based on the achievement of milestones.

“We organised the Agripreneurship Orientation Program (AOP) from June 2019 to August 2020 and Startup Agribusiness Incubation Program (SAIP) from November 2019 to January 2020,” A.V. Gnanasambandam, Chief Executive Officer, ABIS said.

In all, 19 AOP trainees and 25 SAIP start-ups had been trained, out of which 12 AOP trainees and 16 SAIP start-ups had pitched for the final screening in March at MANAGE, he added.

Based on the final pitching, the Agriculture Ministry has sanctioned a grant of ₹1.1 crore in seed funding for 8 start-ups under the SAIP program and ₹21.5 lakhs for 6 start-ups under pre-seed stage funding under the AOP programme.

Coimbatore-based PVR Foods, which makes ready-to-use millet value-added products has been sanctioned the highest amount of ₹23 lakh and will receive ₹9.20 lakh in the first instalment. Some of its products include millet-based idli dosa batters and over 70 products from millet variants as a staple food under the brand name Bommi Dhaniyam.

“The funding is extremely helpful amid the COVID-19 times. The common perception is that millet-based products are costly. The funding will help in enhancing infrastructure, marketing and creating awareness,” said R. Subathra, who quit her job as a professor to start PVR Foods in 2016.

Om Banana Crafts Pvt. Ltd., from Melakkal Village, Madurai district, which makes machinery to produce eco-friendly fibres and value-added products from banana, has been sanctioned a grant of ₹17 lakh and will be receiving ₹6.8 lakh as a first instalment. P. M. Murugesan of Om Banana Crafts said he will use the funds to add more machinery and increase his headcount.

K.M. Vasanth Kumar from Vedapatti village, Krishnagiri will receive a grant of ₹1.5 lakh out of the total ₹2.5 lakh, to further research his project on a cost-effective integrated pest trap, to reduce pesticide usage. “Based on the outcome we will be scaling up to production and distribution by starting a partnership firm — Gravity Pest Solutions,” he said.

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