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Equipping transgender into Agri -entrepreneur – A novel initiative by ICAR-NRCB

ICAR-NRCB has initiated an endeavor “Equipping transgender into Agri entrepreneur” with the objective of “Reaching the un-reached”. As part of the programme, two days hands - on training programme was organized on “Banana based entrepreneurial avenues for economic empowerment of Transgender in Trichy district of Tamil Nadu” during 27 & 28 January, 2021. The programme was attended by first batch of eight transgenders including G. Kojol, President of SAFE transgender association, Trichy. During the Inaugural function, Chief Guest, Dr. Anand Kumar Singh, Deputy Director General (DDG-HS), ICAR, New Delhi, addressed the trainees through video conferencing and stressed the scope of entrepreneurship and government initiatives for a SHG, need for creating a brand and its promotion for upscaling the marketing. He said ICAR will extend maximum support to different stakeholders to undertake small scale agriculture-based enterprises. He expressed happiness that these kind of training programs will certainly motivate transgenders to take up new initiatives for their economic upliftment. Dr. B.K. Pandey, ADG (HS. II), briefed the government schemes including cold storage and supply chain management. Empowering transgender and bringing them into mainstream by new employment opportunities and self-employment schemes are the ways to ensure income, achieve the real outcome in the current scenario. Dr. S, Uma, Director, ICAR- NRCB briefed that the institute feeling proud to be front runner in taking such a maiden initiative for economic empowerment and self-reliance of fringe stakeholders through banana cultivation and its utilization. She was confident that this will open up plethora of options to them in the years to come and highlighted the business potential of banana wastes like central stem, flower and peel will be explored. ICAR-NRCB plans to host more training programs to empower this community and extend Agri-Business Incubation Centre facilities of the institute for the interested members.

Dr. S. Backiyarani, D. Ramajayam, P. Suresh Kumar and C. Karpagam, Scientists of the institute and their team provided hands-on training to the participants on the preparation of banana flower pickle, central stem juice, low-fat banana chips, prospects of establishing nursery for ornamental banana and multiplying traditional banana varieties by macro propagation. Banking and funding avenues were also explained to convert the training outcome to sustainable business models. During the valedictory function, Mr. K. Natarajan, Station Director, All India Radio, Trichy, appreciated the efforts of the institute for upscaling the livelihoods of different spectrum of the society. Shri. T. K.V. Rajan, Founder-Director of Indian Science Monitor & Indo-Asian foundation of archaeological research, also outlined the importance of value addition in banana being the crop selected under ODOP scheme. Dr. V. Kumar, Principal Scientist of the institute explained the banana cultivation aspects to the participants. Ms. Kojol, expressed the gratitude for the uniqueness of the training programme and she mentioned that it is a pioneering initiative by ICAR-NRCB and the initiative may be scaled up to other areas for the benefit of transgender community across the country. The programme was part of the NABARD funded project of NRCB, Trichy. Dr. S. Backiyarani, Principal Scientist proposed the welcome address. Dr. C. Karpagam, Senior Scientist coordinated the two days training programme and proposed vote of thanks.