Monday, November 8, 2010
Agri-Business Entrepreneurship Pushed
Hyderabad India: The Philippine government can consider adopting a strategy which has the potential to increase the income of smallholder farmers and at the same time spur enterprising farmers to go into business.
This was suggested by Dr. William Dar, director-general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat).
Icrisat itself has created a concept dubbed as the “agri-business incubation” (ABI). “We started [the ABI concept] eight years ago...to promote and commercialize the technologies [we developed] from our research and development initiatives,” Dar told visiting journalists and members of the Philippine Agricultural Journalists in a briefing here.
Dar, who is a former Philippine Agriculture secretary, noted that the current system of commercializing technology in the Philippines can still be improved.
“The usual way [in the Philippines] is to give the technology to an extension agency and then let the agency promote it. This system is not that efficient and effective,” he said.
Transferring technology, said Dar, should be done in a “business” fashion if it is to benefit small farmers as well as innovators.
In brief, the ABI concept emphasizes the importance of “mentoring.” Potential entrepreneurs are provided assistance from business planning to the actual marketing of the product. In agri-biotech ventures and innovative ventures in agri-business, ABI-Icrisat can provide technical consultancy.
Dar said Icrisat is willing to help the Philippine government implement the ABI concept should it decide to adopt it.
ABI-Icrisat has incubated more than 100 agri-business ventures in the past 8 years.
“As a result of that initial good experience, we have been funded by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, a government agency, to put up a network of Indian agri-business innovatios,” said Dar.
The Icrisat chief disclosed that the institution received funding amounting to P23 million to assist 10 agri-business incubators based in universities and research and development institutions under the Indian Ministry of Agriculture.
“The major role of Icrisat is to ‘hand hold’ mentors and to transfer the technology of agri-business innovation,” said Dar.
Recently, the ABI-Icrisat has joined hands with Information for Development of the World Bank Group, the government of Finland, and Nokia for agri-business incubation.
Finland said it is keen on providing financial support for agri-business through Icrisat.
By Business Mirror
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