Agri-entrepreneurs & Innovation - Scaling Greater Heights
In a dynamic agri-economy, it is imperative to develop entrepreneurial skills to ensure a growth trajectory for farming, especially at the small scale. Farmer turned entrepreneurs perceive their farms as a business. Farming emerges as a source of profit. These entrepreneurs are experimental in nature and willing to take risks with aspirations of further growth. Innovation is the cornerstone of success for the new breed of agri-entrepreneurs.
These farmers have foresight and use innovative techniques to grow their business. They explore avenues to increase their reach and view their farming business as sustainable sources of income and profit. They have begun to realise the potential and explore newer markets. In short, an entrepreneur of farms does not hesitate in exploring opportunities and reaping profits of his hard work. He can predict the demands and ensure productivity to meet his aspirations, and possesses the drive and the determination to scale greater heights by following his vision.
Conventional Reasons for Farming
Primarily for home consumption and tendency to avoid surplus production for fear of waste;
Sale of the surplus produce;
Sale in the market or for consumption alone;
Lastly, production with the aim of sale in the market.
Broadly, farmers have not been able to assess the level of profitability. There is a visible trait of hesitance in long term investment and comfort in selling surplus production at any available rate, whether legally prescribed or not. Similarly, venturing into production of cash crops is also considered to be a source of risk.
Insufficient knowledge about the market and inaccessibility to finance has proved to be major deterrents in the creation of agri-entrepreneurs. There is also a dearth of skilled labour and proper training facilities. Development of entrepreneurial skill is possible only through specialised training. Hence, the extent of their desires to reserve a quantum of production for the family and selling off the surplus affect their entrepreneurial aspirations.
Entrepreneurship involves decision-making and willingness to take risk. Indian farmers have to become more confident and assured of returns by enhancing knowledge about the sector and adopting innovative methods to increase productivity along with gains.
The involvement of larger workforce would be beneficial for the farmers to emerge as entrepreneurs. By delegating individual responsibilities, they can implement innovative measures to enhance productivity and create a congenial environment for growth. It is pertinent to understand the evolving dynamics of the economy and channelise their strategies towards achieving the objectives of profitability and growth. They must learn to create synergies with third parties such as farmers, suppliers, traders, transporters and processors, whose roles remain inevitable in the supply and value chain.
Agri-entrepreneurs can explore the opportunities of ‘Group Entrepreneurship’. To mitigate risks, group entrepreneurship is an ideal mode of starting your own venture in farming. Farmers with similar objectives and entrepreneurial spirit can collaborate together to embark in a profitable business.
It imparts confidence and encourages them to take risks. This concept has offered more security since it is marked by joint investment and profit sharing. However, its success is subject to complementary levels of service delivery and focused vision.
They must share the same zeal to explore opportunities and manifest innovative strategies for improving productivity.
While the inherent benefits are attractive, group entrepreneurship is also marked by certain disadvantages. The level of dependency might increase between the farmers, which might be harmful in the long run. Misuse of joint funds is possible if not monitored astutely. Making joint decisions could be a challenge in the light of individual aspirations and role-playing. Hence, it is pertinent that a training facility is provided to guide the group entrepreneurs on managerial and execution of skills.
Development of a Farm Enterprise
The evolution of farming goes through various stages. The introduction of enterprise in farming is marked by implementation of managerial strategies to foster growth. The first stage is crucial when he decides to create a profitable business enterprise and assembles all his resources to flag off his vision. Once he is able to establish his farm enterprise, he can sail through the next stage of survival.
The second stage of survival reflects the profits gained on the costs incurred. Quite often, farmers remain stagnant at this stage and hesitate to move further. It is wise to take the next step since it is marked by higher returns. The profits gained must be further invested to increase labour and productivity. The managerial abilities are put to test at this stage.
Once higher returns are obtained, farmers must embark into diverse related fields such as livestock, purchase of more land, etc. Gradually, at every evolving stage, the farmer can explore other related avenues such as improving packaging, using better products and marketing strategies.
It is evident that entrepreneurship amongst farmers can improve the economic scale of the country by enhancing productivity and market reach. Adequate training facilities must be established with sufficient skilled professionals to train the farmers and transform their vision into realities.
Ms Mamta Negi, Department of Information, Government of Himachal Pradesh