01 September 2022 12:11:59 IST

NAARM expands its scope, focuses on corporates, start-ups, FPOs

NAARM campus at Rajendranagar, Hyderabad

After establishing itself as the one-stop-shop for all the ICAR institutes in the country, the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), is looking at expanding its activities to train executives of corporate entities and helping Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) strengthen their networks and access the markets.

Besides, it is also working on preparing policy documents, throwing light on some of the pressing challenges that the agricultural sector is facing in the country.

“We have been signing agreements with corporates such as Rallis, Coromandel International, and Nabard to equip their executives and officials with agri-business management skills,” NAARM Director Ch Srinivasa Rao told BLonCampus.

Ch Srinivasa Rao, Director-General of National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM)

“We are also working with information technology companies to help the stakeholders in the agri ecosystem to build solutions for the sector. We have opened a window recently to help corporate entities improve the skills of their employees. We have trained about 700 executives from various private companies,” he said.

He said hundreds of agricultural graduates join different companies and work there for about 5-7 years. “Some of them aspire to start their own ventures and become job providers. We help them build entrepreneurial and management skills,” he said.

Building skills

Stating that the institute is making money by offering several short-term courses, he said the institute has begun to offer off-campus courses to make it easier and affordable for beneficiary institutes. “Instead of asking them to travel all the way to Hyderabad, we are holding training camps in the respective universities,” he said.

Set up in 1976, the ICAR institute offers capacity-building programmes covering a wide range of subjects, including agricultural research, education, and extension education systems. The HR training powerhouse trains all the freshly hired scientists across the ICAR institutes and KVK (Krishi Vignana Kendras).

Besides getting a seven-month foundation course, the fresh recruits will also be exposed to the challenges at the field level. After they reached a certain level in their respective institutes, they will come back for mid-term training to prepare them for leadership roles.

For those who rose to higher positions in the institutes, the NAARM exposes them to international best practices that helped in tackling some of the challenges in the primary sector. “We are like an overhauling machine for scientists and other stakeholders,” he said.

During the last 46 years, the NAARM completed 111 foundation courses for ICAR’s 113 institutes. “Whoever working in ICAR, must have some association with NAARM. Top leaders in the system must have completed their initial training here,” he said.

Policy advocacy

From a pure human resources training institute, the institute has got a new mandated a few years ago. “The NITI Aayog suggested that we should become a research thinktank for the agri sector, identifying the challenges and suggesting measures to over come them. After preparing the drafts, we are putting them on our website,” the D-G said.

The institute has so far prepared 27 such documents on a range of issues such as greenhouse emissions, water policy, farmer producer organisation policy paper, marine culture, and meat exports. With a good number of agricultural universities reporting faculty shortages, the institute is promoting digital education by promoting content on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Start-ups and FPOs

Through its technology business incubator, the NAARM is helping start-ups transform their ideas into products. “We are promoting startup culture in the agricultural and rural sectors. We have supported over 130 start-ups so far,” he said.