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Incubator for Nurturing Agripreneurs

Meerut Udyami Foundation (MUF) stands out as a unique agri-business incubator situated in Uttar Pradesh-West to nurture agripreneurs. Its primary focus lies in advancing the socio-economic status of farmers and agripreneurs, who serve as the backbone of the economy. The foundation offers comprehensive support to various entities, including Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Self-help Groups, agripreneurs, and entrepreneurs in related fields. This support aims to equip these individuals and groups with specific traits and skills, enabling them to harness opportunities in food technology, environment, agriculture, and other associated branches.

MUF has established partnerships with over 15 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), engaged with more than 10,000 farmers, collaborated with 650 Self-Help Groups (SHGs), supported over 10 women entrepreneurs, formed alliances with over 5 government entities, and connected with 50 agricultural startups and innovators.

In a recent discussion with The Interview World, Dr. Madhuri Gupta, the CEO of Meerut Udyami Foundation, sheds light on the pivotal role her incubator plays in driving agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship. The following are key insights from her interview.

Q: What’s the role of the Meerut Udyami Foundation in the agribusiness sector?

A: The Meerut Udyami Foundation, situated at the Meerut Institute of Technology, functions as an agribusiness incubator. Within this incubator, we provide support to various entities, including Farmer Producer Organizations, Self-help Groups, farmers, and agritech startups, along with their related sectors. Our primary focus is on establishing a comprehensive ecosystem in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.

In this endeavor, we actively engage the student body of the institute, harnessing their skills and enthusiasm. The region is renowned as a significant agricultural hub, making it imperative for us to guide and support local farmers. Recognizing Meerut as a pivotal area for agriculture, we are committed to nurturing and assisting individuals and groups associated with the sector.

Our efforts extend to self-help groups, particularly those comprised of women, aiming to empower them as entrepreneurs in the future. Despite existing perceptions, these groups need to shift their mindset from viewing themselves solely as rural women to becoming successful entrepreneurs. Aligning with the vision of our Prime Minister, we strive to redefine roles and possibilities for these women.

Similar initiatives are taken with women’s self-help groups, challenging preconceived notions about their activities being limited to agricultural practices. We are working towards broadening their perspective, encouraging them to see themselves as entrepreneurs rather than just practitioners of agriculture. This transformative approach is part of our strategy to bridge the gap between technology-driven startups and traditional agricultural practices.

We foster collaboration among startups employing technological interventions and the diverse entities engaged in agriculture, including FPOs and individual farmers. This comprehensive approach is instrumental in creating a well-rounded and supportive agribusiness ecosystem in Meerut.

Q: What kind of ecosystem are you providing?

A: Our primary offering is mentoring support, a crucial resource for both startups and FPOs. We provide tailored skill development training to meet their specific needs. For instance, if a farmer, producer, or organization lacks knowledge about food processing, we guide them through the processing steps, offering hands-on training.

This creates a vital connection between startups and those seeking support in this sector. After providing mentorship, we facilitate access to necessary machinery, sourcing it from government initiatives, private channels, and CSR funds. Our goal is to streamline all these resources onto a unified platform, ensuring alignment among farms, farmers, vendors, traders, and startups. In essence, we bridge the gap, offering comprehensive support for the entire agricultural value chain.

Q: Are you also enabling them to connect with the market?

A: Certainly! We employ a comprehensive marketing approach, encompassing both digital and physical strategies. Notably, our efforts extend to participation in various exhibitions, such as the recent Atmanirbhar Bharat Utsav at Pragati Maidan. Through our incubation center, we secured stalls for one of our FPOs, enhancing their visibility.

Furthermore, our commitment to promoting our FPOs extends to upcoming events like Indus Food 2024 in Greater Noida. In this regard, we have facilitated their presence with dedicated stalls, strategically positioning them to maximize exposure.

In addition to physical avenues, we leverage the power of digital platforms to showcase our FPOs. Through targeted advertisements, we amplify their reach on prominent platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. This multifaceted approach ensures a comprehensive and impactful marketing strategy for our partners.

Q: Are you making them market-ready as well?

A: Absolutely, we are preparing them for the market. This involves not only readying their businesses but also ensuring that their products are market-ready. A significant challenge lies in the packaging of products from FPOs and self-help groups. Consequently, we are educating them on both market requirements and the specific needs of their products for an extended shelf life.

MUF - Nurturing Future Agripreneurs
MUF – Nurturing Future Agripreneurs
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