Hyderabad: Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) here has drawn up plans to launch an ‘agri-incubation centre’ to promote start-ups in the agriculture sector. The university would also arrange capital for the start-ups incubated in the centre, Vice-Chancellor V Praveen Rao said. “You have start-ups in every field. But not in agriculture….What we are trying to do is, make the students think innovative,” he told PTI.
Students can launch start-ups in different areas, including organic farming and agriculture clinics. Citing some examples, V Praveen Rao said such start-ups can make products such as turmeric powder (using newer, faster processes), millet breads and noodles.
The incubation centre may come into existence next year, V Praveen Rao added.
The university would first like to inculcate a spirit of entrepreneurship among students so that they become “job providers instead of job seekers”, he said.
The training in entrepreneurship is meant for final year students of B.Sc (Agriculture) and also the students of post-graduate courses, he said.
The university would like to set the process of entrepreneurship training in motion by enhancing the capacity of students, V Praveen Rao said.
A series of workshops for students and teachers would be conducted for promoting entrepreneurship, he said.
“We changed the curriculum in the B.Sc (Agriculture). Earlier, students used to go to farmers (for four months), stay there and the practical component is (then) over. Now, we have course work for three years. Entire final year, they have to be out,” he said.
After staying with farmers for four months, the students are also made to acquire practical knowledge through ‘Experiential learning units”. For example, they will learn about producing vermi-compost.
Students are also sent for corporate training for about 12 weeks.
After training them in entrepreneurship, the university would put in some money as venture capital and also get venture capitalists onto the platform, V Praveen Rao said.
The university would also rope in consultants “who will help the students to prepare business plans,” he said. A Rs. 35-crore proposal has also been submitted to the government to offer vocational training to farmers as well as students, he said.