Published: 14th October 2020
How CPCRI's Kalpa Green Chat is getting youngsters interested in agriculture
The Kalpa Green Chat was set up by the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute to answer important questions in agricultural entrepreneurship and the industry at large
The ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) in Kasaragod has taken upon themselves to virtually visit the homes of every student who is hungry to learn more about AgriTech and all that it has to offer. Run by the institute’s Kalpa Agri-Business Incubator in partnership with the Kerala Startup Mission, Kalpa Green Chat was set up on June 6 to take this important conversation forward into the virtual world.
“We used to conduct these sessions offline at least once a month before,” says Jaseem Shakeel, Business Manager at the Agri-Business Incubator, “When the lockdown hit, we had to suddenly hit pause on these discussions. And the students, being their most curious selves at this stage, wanted to get more insight into how such agricultural businesses work and what the future of the industry will be like, especially in times like these.”
Initially set up with the intention of familiarising a few students on the technology developed within the institute and promoting social entrepreneurship, they partnered with organisations like the Coconut Development Board, MSME and various industrial centres. Now, every Saturday, students get together and budding entrepreneurs get an insightful peek into the inner workings of the agriculture industry’s biggest players. Kalpa also conducts separate sessions for local farmers.
Last week, a session on Intellectual Property in agriculture was discussed widely among the circle. The other topics most frequently discussed include exports, imports and the various types of technology that could help revolutionise the way food is produced. On the first Saturday of every month, students get to ask their own questions in the ‘You Ask, We Answer’ (YAWA) series, where participants can interact freely with leading experts.
“With YAWA, you can really see the way the industry is moving forward,” explains Jaseem, “This is the time when you can be face-to-face with people making changes in the industry that you want to be a part of. The questions raised are relevant to everything we do for the sustenance of agri start-ups, the role of technology and what our livelihood will be like in a post-COVID world.”
He continues, “Many people attend the classes regularly and now, it has become like a course for them. So when we choose subjects, we choose them according to the specialisations and interests of these participants. So it’s become like an evolving conversation.” The classes are conducted through Zoom. Based on their most recent survey, there have been 1,600 registrations for the programme so far. And these days, when the number of participants exceeds 100, they have moved on to YouTube. The major subjects discussed are available on the platform as well for anyone who is interested to listen in.