Agri Entrepreneurs (AEs) from Manipur completed the Agri Entrepreneurship Training conducted by the Agri Entrepreneur Growth Foundation (AEGF), a joint venture between Syngenta Foundation India (SFI) and the Tata Trusts. This was the first batch from Manipur and the AEs were selected for the training based on their performance over the last few years as key farmers within their communities and a structured selection process. Due to the prevailing pandemic, the training was conducted online for the very first time instead of an intensive residential program by dedicated faculty members from SFI, AEGF and guest lecturers covering various disciplines such as agri technology, life coach, etc. Even though none of the AEs have full proficiency in Hindi, which was the medium of instruction, they all managed to perform extremely well in the training program. With average attendance over the 21-day course of 99% and an average score of 77%, they have all successfully completed their training and are about to begin their entrepreneurial journeys.
The AE model is active across other Indian states such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and West Bengal. So far, 2666 AEs spread across these geographies serve approximately 220,000 farmers with the target to improve farmers' incomes. SFI promotes the involvement of the AEs in various activities such as seeds and market linkages and works with various partner NGOs to supervise and monitor the AEs. The organisation aims for inclusion, diversity and collective responsibility. MaolKeki Foundation (MKF) is working closely with SFI to successfully implement the AE model in Manipur by selecting and mobilising youths to take up Agri Entrepreneurship. And now, the first batch is ready to put their best foot forward.
The aim is to help rural youths take up businesses that help sustain the growth in the areas where they are working. Each AE is expected to engage and work alongside 150 or so farmers in a cluster of at least 4-5 villages. AEs are trained to provide knowledge and crop advice, market linkages, credit facilities, etc. Not only did the training prepare the individuals to embark on an entrepreneurial journey, but it also helped develop an attitude towards ethical work culture. They are trained to work as one stop solutions for all agri related matters.