Boosting Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Employment in India: A Look at the Agri-Clinic and AgriBusiness Centers Scheme ACABC

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Boosting Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Employment in India: A Look at the Agri-Clinic and AgriBusiness Centers Scheme ACABC
24 Feb 2023
5 min read

Blog Post

Introduction:
India is known for its vast agricultural region, which is one of the largest in the world. The agricultural sector plays a crucial role in providing employment opportunities for more than half of the country's population.
It is also the primary source of livelihood for approximately 58% of the population. In recognition of the importance of the agricultural sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, in partnership with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), launched the "Agri-Clinics and Agri-Business Centers" (ACABC) scheme on 9th April 2002.

The scheme is a centrally sponsored initiative that aims to promote better farming practices across the country. However, the sector faces several challenges, including low productivity, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of access to modern technology. To address these challenges, the Government of India launched the Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Centers Scheme (ACABC) in 2002.

This initiative aims to promote entrepreneurship, provide technical support, and create employment opportunities in agriculture and related sectors. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the ACABC scheme, its objectives, benefits, and impact on the agriculture sector in India. Join us as we explore how the ACABC scheme boosts agricultural entrepreneurship and employment in India.

The Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Centers Scheme have 3 main goals:

-To help farmers by providing advice and services, either for free or for a fee, depending on what the agri-entrepreneur can offer and what farmers can afford.
-To support agriculture, the government gives money to individuals or groups who want to start an agri-clinic or agri-business. The amount is up to US$ 24,216 (Rs.20 lakhs) for individuals or up to US$ 121,082 [Rs.100 lakhs] for groups, depending on the project's success.
-To create jobs for people who studied agriculture, the government is offering a 45-day training program that is free and available all over India.

Agriculture is a vital sector in India, contributing significantly to the economy and providing employment to millions of people. However, the sector faces several challenges, including low productivity, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of access to modern technology. In recognition of these challenges, the Government of India launched the Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Centers Scheme (ACABC) in 2002.
The ACABC scheme aims to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities in agriculture and related sectors.

The scheme provides technical support and training to aspiring entrepreneurs and facilitates access to credit and other resources required to establish and run agri-clinics and agri-business centers.
Agri-clinics are centers that provide expert advice, diagnostic services, and training to farmers on various aspects of agriculture, such as crop cultivation, plant protection, and farm management.
The objective of agri-clinics is to improve the quality and productivity of crops, reduce input costs, and enhance profitability.

Agribusiness centers, on the other hand, are entities that provide various services related to agriculture and allied sectors, such as procurement, storage, processing, and marketing of agricultural products. Agribusiness centers also facilitate the adoption of modern technologies and best practices in farming.

Under the ACABC scheme, eligible candidates can receive financial assistance of up to Rs. 25 lakhs for establishing an agri-clinic and up to Rs. 50 lakhs for setting up an agribusiness center.
The scheme also provides training to candidates on various aspects of agriculture and business management.

The ACABC scheme has several benefits for the agriculture sector in India. It provides opportunities for self-employment and entrepreneurship, particularly for rural youth and women.
The scheme also promotes the adoption of modern technologies and best practices, which can improve productivity and profitability in agriculture.

Moreover, the scheme can help bridge the gap between farmers and markets by facilitating agricultural product procurement, storage, processing, and marketing. This can enhance the income of farmers and reduce post-harvest losses.

The Agri-clinics and Agribusiness Centers Scheme helps people start their own agricultural businesses.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) sponsors the scheme and works with public and private banks to make it easy for people to get loans. People must complete professional training through the National Center for Management of Agricultural Extension (MANAGE) to get a loan. Individuals can get a loan of up to US$ 24,216 (Rs. 20 Lakhs) (US$ 30,270 [Rs 25 lakhs] in special cases) for individual projects and up to US$ 121,082 (Rs 1 crore) for group projects. If the amount required is more than US$ 6,054 (Rs 5 Lakhs), people need to provide margin money of 10-15% of the total cost and collateral security.

The subsidy can range from 34% to 44%, and the time limit for repayment is 5–10 years with a grace period of 2 years. Since 2002, 908 projects have been approved by banks under the ACABC scheme.
The State Bank of India has approved the most projects, with 110 in total.

Since 2002, the Agri-clinics and Agribusiness Centers Scheme has been helping people across India. A table shows how many people in each state have benefited from the scheme so far. Across the country, 82,776 people have received training, and 36,265 new agribusinesses have been created. Maharashtra has trained the most people and has the highest number of new ventures, with 21,823 trained candidates and 11,209 established ventures. Uttar Pradesh is second, with 18,196 trained candidates and 8,763 ventures established.

Conclusion:

The Agri-Clinic and AgriBusiness Centers Scheme (ACABC) of the Government of India is a well-designed initiative aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities in agriculture and related sectors. The scheme provides technical support, training, and financial assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs, which can contribute significantly to the growth and development of the agriculture sector in India.

The Future Roadmap:

The Agri-Clinic and Agri-Business Center Scheme is a significant initiative that has helped create employment opportunities, reduce economic inequalities, and uplift the standard of living of the underprivileged section of society.

As India continues to grow as a global agricultural exporter and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, this flagship program is essential for building a skilled workforce and improving the quality of products. By addressing the challenges, the agribusiness sector faces, the scheme contributes to the growth and development of the Indian economy.

Overall, the Agri-Clinic and Agribusiness Centre Scheme is a valuable asset to the country and will continue to support the growth and development of the agricultural sector.

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