IIT Kharagpur to Incubate Agri-Food Startups to support Food Security

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Shiksha Mantri to Flag-off Agri-Food Techathon at IIT Kharagpur to promote Agri and Food Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship

IIT Kharagpur in association with NABARD is organizing the first of its kind Agri-Food Techathon (AFT 2021), to promote the participation of India’s youth in innovation and entrepreneurship in different domains of the Agri-Food sector. AFT-2021 will be inaugurated by Hon’ble Shiksha Mantri Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on January 25, 2021. The foundation of the Agri-Business Incubation Centre will also be laid at the inaugural event, which will carry out the mandate to incubate innovative ideas in agriculture and food technology domain for creating Agri-preneures. 

Agriculture is the largest employment vertical with a GDP share of 14%. Over the years, India has witnessed a substantial increase in yields, crop diversity due to mechanization and knowledge dissemination programmes. However, the steeping consumption due to population explosion has been a constant challenge demanding rapid progress in the agricultural sector. 

Talking about the initiative Prof. V K Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur opined, “While India is moving at an accelerated pace towards automation and digitization, there is a crucial need to complement it with automation in the rural livelihood and farm sector and warrant uniform progress. To achieve this goal we are reaching out to the talented youth of this country through the Agri-Food Techathon. This platform will enable them to exhibit and depict their creativity, problem-solving and prototyping-skills in Agriculture and Food Technology thus leading to indigenous product development, employment generation and fulfilment of our promise to Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

The national-level online technical fest spanned over January – March 2021, will have participation from over 750 university/college students, entrepreneurs and rural youths from across the country in the age range of 20-25 years with diverse academic background. Apart from workshops, mentorship and guest talks, AFT-2021 will host a competitive B-plan submission for the participants.

Business and technology experts in areas covering farm mechanization, AIML, IoT in agriculture, precision farming, greenhouse farming, organic farming, agricultural biotechnology, soil technology and testing, food processing, packaging and storage, food supply chain management.

Renowned professional experts from countries premier institutions like IIT Kharagpur, IARI New Delhi, CIAE Bhopal and Founders / CEOs of different successful agri-food tech startups like Sickle Foundation, Sfarms India, Fasal, Nutrigreen, Organic Farming, Cropin, B2V, Keyhti, Khadyam, Crofarm, WAycool, Villa Mart, etc. are taking part in the Sensitization Workshop of the AFT-2021.

More than 30 teams with high potential will be selected for formal association with ABIC, IIT Kharagpur. They will be offered assistance in the form of Technology and Business Development Mentorship, R&D support, Laboratory / Workshop / Pilot Plant access and Funding Opportunities through potential Investors / Accelerators. Business and technology experts from key domains of Agriculture and Food Technology will be involved as panellists and mentors. 

The event is being organized by Agricultural & Food Engineering Department, Centre for Rural Development & Innovative Sustainable Technologies and Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship in association with NABARD. 

Prof. H N Mishra, Professor-in-Charge of the Agri Business Incubation Centre (ABIC), remarked, “At our Centre, we will facilitate the incubated startups to develop low-cost technologies and transfer them for sustainable development of rural communities. We shall further conduct hands-on training, workshops, and seminars for capacity building of farmers and unemployed rural youth.” 

Special emphasis will be given through action-oriented research to promote climate-resilient agriculture in vulnerable districts, agricultural value chains, promote farmers’ collectives, value addition, market-linkage, and risk management; also offering expert advisory services, policy advocacy including building up of human capital in rural areas. 

For more information on AFT 2021 and ABIC, please visit: https://kgpchronicle.iitkgp.ac.in/agri-food-techathon-aft-2021/

By Shreyoshi Ghosh


  • It’s a very good initiatives for much needed transfer of technologies for to rural sector which solely rely on Agriculture for livelihood.
    I like to caution the administration of ABIC and the AFT Techathon to keep in mind about the location specific technology package alongwith marketing related value chain for real success of this venture to attract the rural youth for becoming a beneficial agri- enterpreneurs.
    IIIT Kharagpur is situated in the Jhargram/Paschim MEDINIPUR district of WB; surprisingly the poverty, unemployment,extreme vulnerabality of the population (mostly Tribal under the Left Extremism Dominated areas for the last 5o years) lives in this district in areas of Lalgarh, Belpahari, Gopiballavpur, Jamboni and Nayagram blocks. My request is that please take some corrective positive TECHNOLOGY+ATTITUDE transfer through this new and latest venture of IIT Kharagpur.

  • Dr Paul is right and fully endorse his view as at ground level there is a big disconnect. We have seen the same in the Himalayan Villages and Hamlets where we’re working for last 25+ year’s.
    Unless the same is localised even with a Bots or AI, IOT etc we aren’t going to deliver on the ground Sir. Thus the rural and urban divide become greater facilitating ground for terrorism and Chinese ? incursion as of now. We are willing to work with IIT on a long term basis and would provide all local support in our villages and Hamlets. Awaiting your kind response ?. Link for participating for the event Sir Good Day ?️????

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