Nagpur Bureau: Maharashtra Agribusiness Network Project (MAGNET) Society is a special purpose vehicle to roll out major changes in the agriculture sector, said Mr Anoop Kumar, IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary, Cooperation and Marketing. Migration has to be stopped, potential entrepreneurs have to be retained to bring about the change. Mr Kumar was speaking during a function organized to sign an MoU between Indian Institute of Management Nagpur (IIM Nagpur) and MAGNET Society on June 17, 2022.
IIM Nagpur will be collaborating with the Government of Maharashtra for the MAGNET project which is supported by the Asian Development Bank. The MoU was signed by Mr Kumar, Mr Deepak Shinde, Project Director, MAGNET Project and Dr Bhimaraya Metri, Director, IIM Nagpur. With this, IIM Nagpur will assume the role of a CoE for training and hand-holding for various stakeholders like farmers, Farmer Producer Organization (FPOs), CBOs, SHGs, Startups etc.
While elaborating the agriculture crisis witnessed in Vidarbha, Mr Kumar pointed out that total lack of focus on developing an agriculture production system offering sustainability to farmers had escalated the situation. Farmers in horticulture are not making that kind of money despite having the potential because the post-harvest management aspects have not been addressed in advanced technological manner, he added.
“Vidarbha farmers have suffered because there has been no technological intervention. While formulating the policy for MAGNET project, the Asian Development Bank and other consultants insisted on focusing on Vidarbha and Marathwada and establishing the missing links of post-harvest management system,” Mr. Kumar informed. “Agripreneurs have to be strengthened and steps need to be taken to reduce the profits made by the intermediateries. Farmers undergo immense exploitative chain. Make the farmers participate in the value chain,” he insisted. Agriculture is not in crisis but agriculture management is definitely in crisis. In such a scenario, premium institutes like IIM Nagpur can come out with solutions, Mr Kumar said.
This CoE collaboration with IIM Nagpur can turn out to be a model for others to follow as to how a management institute can make contribution in revolutionizing the agri sector. This will in turn enhance the income of billions of farmers. There is tremendous potential for IIM Nagpur intervening in agriculture business management, he opined.
IIM will collaborate with MAGNET Society to identify the challenges encountered by farmers and provide transformative solutions for a better future. While elaborating on the role of IIM Nagpur, Dr Metri said, “CoE MAGNET focuses on farmers and FPC/FPO to help and stay in touch with the new realities of the agro industry.” MAGNET Society has come out with a beautiful framework, policy and plan. I am sure, Maharashtra will show how to convert agri product into agribusiness”, said Dr Metri during the signing ceremony.
“IIM Nagpur, under the leadership of MAGNET Society, will help build up value-change infrastructure. Today horticulture is the need of the hour. This MoU will help connect the right product to the right market. IIM Nagpur, with its management and capacity building strategy, will help improve agricultural practices, which in turn, will enhance farmers’ income,” Dr Metri added.
“IIM Nagpur will focus on preparing farmers in Maharashtra for a fast-paced change in the real world. IIM Nagpur training programs will provide farmers/FPOs with hands-on skills which are relevant for tomorrow’s workplace”, Dr Metri informed. He concluded by saying that IIM Nagpur is here to redefine not only business education, but also the role of business in bringing peace and prosperity to the world of farmers.
During an open house discussion, Mr Kumar addressed to queries posed by the stakeholders in the food and agri ecosystem.