Guwahati, Assam: Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Guwahati-led Centre of Entrepreneurship (CoE), OctaNE launches its flagship AgTech Program called Assam AgTech OCP (Open Challenge Program) in collaboration with ARIAS Society, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Assam on 9th February 2024 at STPI, Near LGBI Airport, Borjhar, Guwahati. Top Officials from the Central as well as State Governments along with representation from industry leaders, Academia, investors, startups, and students participated in the event. Shri S. Krishnan, IAS, Secretary, MeitY, Govt. of India Inaugurated the Incubation facility & Lab of IoT in Agriculture-CoE at STPI Guwahati under OctaNE and also interacted with STPICoE incubatee Startups and also visited exhibition stalls of startups showcasing their products & innovation in the field of AgriTech.
The AgTech summit was inaugurated by the lighting of the lamp by dignitaries followed by the welcome address given by Smt. Vandana Srivastava, Jurisdictional Director, STPI Guwahati. In her welcome address, she explained the initiatives taken by STPI in the development of a start-up eco-system. To date 23 CoEs domain-specific CoEs are being operational in different cities, of which 8 CoEs are operational in the NE Region.
Shri Kumaran Venkatesh, President, Astrome Technologies Private Limited, Chief Mentor – IoT in Agriculture – Guwahati addressed the audience about the importance of identifying problems which means half the job is done. He further added that the support and ecosystem created by various govt. initiatives such as state-of-the-art Labs created by STPI. He quoted” Great beginning bound to grow”.
S.K. Baruah, ED NEDFI during his address spoke about NEDFI schemes for startups and technological use in agriculture.
Address by Guest of Honour Shri Virendra Mittal, IAS, State Project Director, ARIAS Society, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Assam has detailed the Open challenge program by ARIAS in collaboration with STPI to nurture promising startups in the agriculture domain it will engage farmers/ producers and facilitate to deployment of agritech solutions.
Guest of Honour Shri K.S.P.V. Pavan Kumar, IFS, Special Secretary, Department of IT, Govt. of Assam elaborated on the various initiatives taken by govt. of Assam to nurture startups and detailed about State Data Centre to host application and data exchange platform where all kind of data can be shared on a real-time basis.
While addressing at the summit, Shri Arvind Kumar, Director General, STPI elaborated “As India is a primarily agri nation, STPI is capitalizing on the emergence of technology in the agriculture sector. He also stated that for a startup, the most difficult task is to identify the problem statement. Technology such as AI can only solve the problem, but it can’t identify the problem. This has to be done by a human mind.
Guest of Honour Shri Kuntal Sensarma, Economic Adviser & Group Coordinator, MeitY, Govt. of India elaborated on the various issues in the Agriculture sector such as post-harvest supply chain issues, traceability, and productivity.
“The launch of OCP in IoT in AgriTech is a relevant, timely & important initiative. The opportunity for agriculture is huge in the Eastern part of India as it is abundantly endowed with water, land and greenery” Shri S Krishnan, Secretary, MeitY, Govt. of India at Assam Agtech OCP launch. Address by Chief Guest Shri S. Krishnan, IAS, Secretary, MeitY, Govt. of India.
During the summit MoU was signed & exchanged between STPI and North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFi) and a Video on STPI Startup Initiatives in the North East was shown along with Launch of the Assam AgTech Open Challenge Program (OCP).
The day-long AgTech Summit included a panel discussion, a session on Success stories of Agritech-focused startups and also pitching of startups to investors. Assam AgTech OCP aims to bridge the gap between the agriculture and technology sectors and would support innovators and existing start-ups to develop solutions that address challenges for smallholder farmers and the Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) serving them in the State of Assam.
The intent of conducting Assam AgTech OCP is to identify, select, and support Tech Startups under STPI OctaNE CoE for providing technological solutions to cater to the needs and challenges faced by the agricultural industry sector of the region. The outcome of the program is to Enhance the efficiency and profitability of associated FPCs through the adoption of technology solutions, generate employment for local youths through the selected technology Startups/Solution providers and FPCs, improve agricultural productivity, and Develop widely acceptable Agritech solutions with potential for IT exports from the country.
The selected Startups of Assam AgTech OCP will receive benefits under the STPI OctaNE CoE program like Seed Funding up to INR 25 Lakhs, state-of-the-art P-n-P incubation and Lab facility, Mentoring and Technical support, Marketing, Networking and Outreach, etc. AgTech Summit 2024 is a catalyst for change, a platform where collaboration and innovation shape the future of Assam’s agriculture sector.