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AGRINDUS IS AN INTENSIVE 12 MONTH RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM IN SCIENTIFIC CULTIVATION & VALUE ADDITION INDUSTRIES. It is based on the belief that agriculture and industry form a continuum, and industrial activities with value addition of agricultural produces will help build villages that are economically stronger, self reliant, and equipped with essential infrastructure and service amenities.
The agrarian crisis in the arid regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada in Maharashtra has led to a shocking number of farmer suicides for the past many years now. Contributing factors include: misplaced agricultural policies, lack of minimum support prices , weak leadership, lack of rational water policy, inadequate / absence of irrigation, water-hungry and expensive genetically modified cotton, ever increasing cost of inputs like seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, diversion of irrigation water from farms to power plants & industries, bad crop insurance policies, hopeless revenue tools of arriving at farm losses (paisewari), arm twisting by middlemen and the debacle of bazar samitis, issues with household economic management by farmers, opportunistic lenders and opportunistic leader, and an indifferent society at large.
It is against this backdrop that the Agrindus Institute was set up. Agrindus institute is part of Maharogi Sewa Samiti (popularly known as Manohardham Dattapur) established in 1936 with the guidance of Gandhiji and Vinobhaji and with the dedicated efforts of Shri Manohar Diwan. The centre became a nursery of great social work pioneers like Baba Amte and became famous for its innovative rehabilitation methods based on agriculture, dairy and rural industries. MSS Dattapur had a stand-alone objective of developing rural industries.
The current program will create a new generation of scientific farmers capable of achieving high agricultural productivity in a sustained way, along with industrial activities that help add value to their produce. Scientific farming is essentially precision farming with complete under-standing of crop ecology and optimum agronomic management. The unique residential programme provides students this hands-on orientation. The students are actually named as directors of their companies and therefore learn the nuances of managing a company. In the last 5 months alone, 2 of the 10 companies have gone through a Merger and Acquisition process! Most importantly, during the course of the programme, the students will be able to sell their produce and retain 60% of their earnings. So when they complete their diploma, they have earnings to be proud about. Truly, for the first time in the education system, we have the most unique education programme anywhere – students don’t pay to learn but actually earn while they learn! A whole new system of education that will generate the next gen entrepreneurs and leaders of Self Empowered Units (SEU’s) for rural development.
SELF DEVELOPMENT – AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF AGRINDUS COURSE
The Agrindus course is a 4+4+4 course :
4 hours per day for lectures. 4 hours per day for learning-through-doing. 4 hours for self-development (SD). The SD component includes life and leadership skills inculcating the spirit of entrepreneurship and taking charge of one’s life.
- Soils and crops of the region
- Dry land cultivation
- Manure and pest management
- Waste waster management
- Integrated farming
- Organic farming
- Seeds and nursery management – tissue culture
- Agri-allied industries – dairy, poultry, fishery, apiary, etc
- Vegetables, flowers, medicinal and industrial crops – horticulture and protected cultivation
- Value addition techniques (cotton to garments ; soya bean to milk/tofu ; etc)
- Farm equipment and machinery
- Economics of Farming and related financial literacy
- Computer literacy and use of Smart Kisan apps
- Communication skills and English proficiency
- Familiarity with Government schemes
- Legal literacy
- Dream project planning for activation
INFOSA WING OF AGRINDUS INSTITUTE
INFOSA (Informatics for Social Action) is a companion institute of Agrindus. It started with the mission of economic liberation of women / stigmatized groups through innovative use of IT-enabled services in BPO mode.
INFOSA programs that support Agrindus include :
- Software development for training of women.
- Apps development for farmers on agriculture best practices and value addition.
- Software development for industrial planning of village clusters and simulations for village leaders.
- Tracking of progress of programme participants, beneficiaries of schemes, individual and community health, through a networked monitoring and reporting platform.
- Creation of VIPs (Village Information Persons) and Smart Kisans.
Students are trained to work on the farms and in rural industries sector. Major institutes in the region (Magan Sangrahalaya and Gramseva Mandal) provide an ideal setting to learn about value additions that take place from cotton to garment, while the MGIRI labs provide a grounding in solar technology and the bio process techniques needed for organic textiles.
The first batch began classes on June 30, 2016. Some highlights in this short period include :
Learning from Krishi Rishis. Progressive farmers whose innovations have resulted in improved yields, lowered costs and improved revenue, provide hands-on guidance to participants.
- Raju Borkar gets extensive yield of cotton and soya with Tur as intercrop. Borkar’s farm is also an example of integrated farming. With 14 cows Borkar gets upto 250 litres of milk per day.
- Field visit to the Matoshri Nursery of Vaibhav Ughade. Young saplings of vegetables and flowers nurtured in a poly-house. Ughade is an agri-graduate turned prominent entrepreneur.
- Sessions with Dipak Ghongade, Tur Expert.
- Organic cultivation planning with D V Ghuse, Crop Specialist and Consultant in organic farming.
Interactive sessions with industry experts (watershed management ; economic planning of farms ; organic agriculture and swadeshi ; basic food & fruit processing ; NABARD’s innovative schemes for tribal youth, among others).
Farm equipment handling and maintenance module in progress
Smart Farmer computer skills at the Infosa Lab module in progress
Industry field visits (Wood turning ; Spinning machines refurbishment ; Solar charka set up ; identification of right settings for a given count of yarn ; production of tofu ; production of phenyl ; khadi and rural industries orientation).
The first batch of 35 students: 20 from the Kalamb Taluk of Yavatmal and 15 from the Parli Taluk of Beed.
The theoretical foundation of the course gets started with the lecture by Basant Futane on organic farming with a scientific understanding of soil structure and techniques of top soil management.
Students are introduced to a comprehensive method of soil testing in which 12 parameters of the soil are accurately assessed and a computer prescription of fertilisers is printed out.
Agrindus Advisory Committee
- Dr Vibha Gupta, Chairperson MSS-Dattapur
- Dr R S Sharma, Trustee MSS-Dattapur
- Mr Satyapaul, Trustee MSS-Dattapur
- Dr Ashok Pawade, Trustee MSS-Dattapur
- Dr P B Kale, Director MGIRI-Wardha
- Arun Jain, Chairman, Polaris Foundation
- Mayank Gandhi of Fulora Foundation, Mumbai
- Dr Wange, Surgeon and social worker, Parli
- Ajay Kumar
- Yogesh Andley
- Dr. Narendra Mehrotra
Visualise the service sector needs of rural India, and the solution lies in creating Rural Economic Zones. These economic zones will be a cluster of rural panchayats. Each cluster will comprise farmers, weavers, artisans, self‐help groups and women. The economy of such regions would be built on local agricultural resources or local ethnic resource.
Project lead :
Dr. T. Karunakaran
Dr. Karunakaran (Former VC of Chitrakoot & Gandhigram Univ. and former Director of MGIRI-Wardha, Min of MSME), is the Secretary MSS-Dattapur and Director Agrindus Institute.
IT Professor, IIT Delhi turned social reformer, Dr. Karunakaran has served as Director, Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Rural Industrialisation, Vice Chancellor of Gandhigram Rural University, Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Rural Development University. His innovations include the TECHNORACY module to empower SHG groups of Women and the AGRINDUS model of value addition to agricultural products. He was a member, along with Anna Hazare in the Gram Swaraj Committee of Madhya Pradesh, Panchayat Empowerment Committee, Maharashtra, and Member, Executive Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, an advisory body of Flensburg University, Germany.