Gautam Adani’s inspiring IRMA talk invokes Gandhian-Kurien philosophy,
envisions farmers as Next-Gen entrepreneurs

Adani Group Chairman, Gautam Adani’s virtual address to the students of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) on August 13, envisioned a world wherein progressive government policies, digital technology and smart business models for the Indian rural economy can collectively turn Indian farmers into defining entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The first-generation founder of the $14Bn diversified business conglomerate, was invited to deliver the Shiksha Arambh Vyakhyan, the annual orientation address to the 41st batch of the Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Rural Management).

Invoking upon Mahatma Gandhi’s words, ‘the soul of India lives in its villages’ and IRMA founder, Dr. Varghese Kurien’s vision of ‘how production by masses should triumph mass production’ Adani said that the upcoming crop of rural management students had the greatest opportunity to turn India’s prowess in agricultural production into empowering our farmers and positioning the nation as a global leader in the sector mired with missed opportunities.

Highlights: Mr. Gautam Adani’s Talk on Transforming Indian Agriculture

“Tomorrow, you have the big footsteps of Dr. Kurien to follow, and today you have taken the first step in that inspiring direction,” he said.

Speaking of bolstering India’s rural economy, Adani cited the heart wrenching visuals of millions of migrant workers grappling to return home amid the COVID crisis. “I urge you to never forget these images to understand your responsibility towards the IRMA Vision - ‘promote equitable socio-economic development of rural people’,” he told students urging them to develop models for the rural economy wherein local populations can be employed locally.

Given the government’s focus on ‘Atmanirbhar Agriculture’ the billionaire entrepreneur emphasized that the time for a new revolution in Indian agriculture was ideal citing his personal experience of witnessing Israel’s model of merging the learnings of its rural kibbutz-based culture with modern technology.

Citing the imminent risks of shrinking arable land, climate change, water availability, and supply chain inefficiencies. Adani stressed on the need for cluster-based policies for agriculture aligned to the principles laid down in the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban (રુરબન) Mission that focuses on development of targeted clusters of 15 to 20 proximate villages with populations of 30-40 lakhs.

Unlike its global peers, India despite being one of the largest producers of food has been unable to leverage the food processing sector, he said adding that the recently announced ‘PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises scheme’ whereby a ‘one district, one product’ cluster approach is being adopted and subsidies are being provided for setting up 2 lakh micro processing units will be significant boost.

“This is set to be a game changer through value addition to the farmers’ produce.”

The knowledge-rich talk also outlined the combination of digitisation, indoor agriculture, micro-processing and clustering could enable 100x to 500x productivity which in turn could draw from the concept of cooperatives, in turning farmers into entrepreneurs.

The session concluded with some key entrepreneurial tips for future entrepreneurs of India. Adani said entrepreneurship is a journey he started when he was only 16.

“I learnt that while the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, it is rare that any entrepreneurship journey is able to follow this straight line.

Entrepreneurship is about sometimes getting lost, sometimes falling - but every time I was lost - every time I fell - I was still able to find my way back – I was still able to get up - and it is this desire to be back on your feet... that defines an entrepreneur.”

He added that India will be able to address the urban/rural opportunity divide better in the years to come and “one day we will feed the world.”

“My optimism comes from my view that your generation is far smarter and entrepreneurial than any previous generation. India already has more than 450 Agri Tech Start-ups. This is a sign of the transformation Indian agriculture is undergoing. It’s the best indication that your entrepreneurial generation recognizes the opportunity related to agriculture and associated industries.”

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