India, a prosperous country with a wide range of geo-climatic zones. Various mighty rivers flowing through her terrain have given us a very fertile land. It has witnessed a growth of an agrarian civilization on the banks of Sindhu River, huge alluvial plains of Ganga and along many other riverbanks throughout the history. Even today, the Indian economy is considered as an agrarian economy. Industrial revolution and advancements have created a few opportunity magnets in the form of industrial towns. However, even today the majority part of our population is agrarian. On one hand a new trend is saying to go organic. On the other side is aspiring to bring modernization to the agriculture sector. This opens up a good opportunity for agro micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to come in.
When we talk about industrialization or modernization of agriculture, we paint a very broad monochrome picture. Huge land parcels tilled, sown, and harvested with large machines. Large factories making goods out of the produce which are spread over acres, etc. However, in the Indian context, small and medium farms are a unique character of our agriculture sector. Employing large machines and having homogeneous cropping over a large size farm is difficult. This brings a very lucrative and unique opportunity to get MSMEs. They can create a successful business in this market.
Flexibility and size of MSMEs is a key quality which makes them proper fit for this market. MSMEs work with an open mind for new ideas and enthusiasm to put them to work. Hence, There’s a high potential to bring entirely new aspects to the market. Entirely new service or product can change the lives of small and medium farmers of India.
The term agro-industry largely focuses on produce processing and value addition. However, I believe there’s a huge scope for service sector enterprises to flourish in the agro-industry sector. A robust delivery chain is a backbone for the success of the agriculture sector of any economy. Even the government has understood it and took some steps to strengthen and enhance the logistics around the sector. In 2012, it established the National Centre for Cold-Chain Development. The report of the National Task on Cold-Chain established earlier made this happen. With help of MSMEs local farmers can establish delivery networks with food processing industries. Vegetables have to be sold quickly in the market due to their small shelf life. Vegetable farmers can directly transport their fresh produce to the retails customers through delivery partners.
One more big issue of Indian farming is the labour problem. I believe this can also be solved by creating a service industry where human resources are trained and equipped with proper skills and tools for efficient farming activities. India is progressing in the service sector. Our BPOs and Software companies, exporting their services in the global market. These agro-service MSMEs will see a growth of the service sector in the main economic base of the Indian economy.
We have a very weird notion that only a wealthy industrialist can start an industry or enterprise. However, we have our very own example of cooperative achieving a magnificent growth. Local farmers of Anand, Gujrat started India’s beloved Amul as a cooperative. It started back in 1946 under the leadership of local farmer Tribhuvandas Patel. Later it achieved a glowry of white revolution with the guidance of Padma Vibhushan Verghes Kurien. It created wealth for local villages and made them self-sufficient. Mahatma Gandhi had written about his concept of village swaraj. He dreamt that every village will be self-sufficient in every aspect including finances. Today, if villages come together and form these MSMEs which will handle, process, package and sell their own produce. Then, Indian agriculture will see another revolution. It will pave a way towards a sustainable development of rural India.