Taking the concept of incubation hubs to the farmland, the Telangana government and ICRISAT launched an iHub on Monday. The innovation hub (iHub) will provide a platform for agricultural technology entrepreneurs, scientists and others to collaborate and develop cutting edge ideas that will help improve the value chain for farmers holding small parcels of land.
The facility was inaugurated at the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics here in the city by agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy who was accompanied by IT minister KT Rama Rao. Developments coming from the new facility, Srinivas Reddy said, should help farmers reduce their investments, increase productivity and ultimately free them from the need to seek crop loans every year. The iHub is spread over 10,000 sq ft at ICRISAT and will include a 40-seat accelerator facility.
KTR said technology can play an important role to help a distressed sector such as agriculture emerge out of the problems it faces. “Technology is the key to empowering our farmers and to improve productivity. Science cannot be for the sake of science and unless it changes things on the ground for the common person we cannot say that we’ve been able to make a social and economic impact,” he said.
A high-level advisory council will guide iHub activities. The council comprises principal secretaries of Agriculture and IT, Parthasarathi and Jayesh Ranjan, managing director of Microsoft India Anil Bhansali, senior vice-president of T-Hub Rama Iyer, vice-chancellor of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University Dr Praveen Rao and ICRISAT director general David Bergvinson.