Focus on promoting agri-startup systems in universities: Horticulture Commissioner

STRESSING upon the  need to promote the agri-startup ecosystem in the universities for innovative ideas in the agri-horticulture sector,   Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Horticulture Commissioner in the  union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said that this would certainly help the farming community of the country.

Presiding over  38th foundation day of Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni,  Dr. Kumar said, “The number of startups in the agriculture sector is few as compared to the other areas. To promote entrepreneurship among students we need to equip them with proper financial knowledge and a three-month course should be taught to the students on this topic.” He urged the faculty to think beyond classroom teaching and look to engage students with successful alumni entrepreneurs and motivate them to become job providers. 

Dr. Kumar said that by 2050 the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion with India being the country having the largest. He said to feed this population we will have to increase our food production and the agri-horti sectors have a major role to play in this. Dr. Kumar advised the students to make their knowledge a tangible entity and continuously look to improve their skill set. He said that students must reduce their ‘screen time’ and devote this time to reading. 

Eminent scientist Dr. KT Parthiban, Dean, Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam also delivered a talk on the ‘Status and Development of Value Chain in Industrial Agroforestry’. He spoke about the importance of agroforestry and the challenges faced by it and its mitigation strategies through technological, organisational and market interventions. He spoke at length about the Consortium of Industrial Agro-Forestry model which has been successfully implemented by the industry.

Earlier, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel presented the progress report of the university. He informed that the university has had a long history of excellence in education, research and extension and the combined efforts of its scientists, staff and students have brought great laurels to Himachal Pradesh in Horticulture and Forestry. He informed that the university is playing a leading role in the development of the curriculum on natural farming for the agricultural universities and NCERT. Prof. Chandel added that the university is in the final stages of developing the package of practice for various fruits and vegetables in natural farming and efforts are also being made to establish a Centre of Excellence on this farming technique. He called for frequent interactions between students and alumni to promote learning.  

 The students of the university gave an exhibition of their talent through various cultural performances which were thoroughly enjoyed by all the guests. Several sporting events were also organised as part of the celebrations.

 Eminent alumni of the university- Ashish Dobhal, Ajay Rana, Umesh Mahajan, Harinder Singh, Rupinder Saini and Manjula Sularia, retired scientists and staff, members of the Senate, Board of Management, Academic, Extension and Research Councils, progressive farmers, employees and students of the university attended the event. 

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