Realizing the importance of agri business incubation centres in creating employment and also for supplementing the efforts of the Centre in its mission to double the income of farmers, NABARD has embarked on a programme for providing financial support for setting up ABICs (Agribusiness Incubation Centre) in agricultural universities. To facilitate Agri start-ups and entrepreneurship ventures, an incubator with 43,650 sq ft area, has been launched in the Agriculture College and Research Institute (AC&RI), TNAU Campus, Madurai on 13th April 2018. The foundation stone for MABIF (Madurai Agribusiness Incubation Forum) was laid by Shri.R.Amalorpavanathan, DMD, NABARD, Mumbai, in the presence of Shri. K. Shanmugam, IAS Additional Chief Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, Shri. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, IAS, APC & Principal Secretary of Government, Shri. Shunchonnagam Jatak Chiru, IAS, DAM & AB, Shri. K. Veeraraghava Rao, IAS, Collector, Madurai, Mrs. Padma Raghunathan, CGM, NABARD, Chennai, Shri. S N A Jinnah, CGM(Retired), NABARD, Chennai, Prof. Dr. K. Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor, TNAU, Coimbatore, Dr. K. Mahendran, Director, ABD, TNAU, Coimbatore, Dr. R. Murugesan, Former Director, ABD,TNAU and Dr. S Suresh, Dean AC & RI, Madurai among others.

R. Amalorpavanathan, Deputy Managing Director, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke about the various schemes implemented by NABARD for encouraging entrepreneurs in agriculture sector and importance of the incubator to the region as well as agricultural development. Recollecting that he was an alumni of AC&RI-Madurai, Shri K. Shanmugam, IAS Additional Chief Secretary, said that graduates in agriculture had better prospects today than even engineers, with increasing number of entrepreneurial opportunities. Agricultural production commissioner and principal secretary to the state, Shri Gagandeep Singh Bedi, IAS said that farmers have to go beyond farming and involve in value addition of their farm produce. Tamil Nadu government is giving lot of thrust on value addition of farm produce and 200 rural value addition centres have been established with state funding of Rs 10 lakh each. The objective is that farmers should get profit share with their value addition and he encouraged agricultural graduates to stay back at their villages and carry out farming and become good farmers and entrepreneurs. The Incubation centre will provide single-window access for all agri business activities including Market linkages, Finance facilitation, Technology support, Business services, Networking opportunities, handholding & mentoring, access to infrastructure, capacity building among other services.

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