Atmanirbhar Bharat, initiated by the Govt of India, is aimed at transforming India from an underdeveloped country to a technically as well as financially self-reliant and self-sustaining nation of the 21st century. The Rs. 20 trillion mission extensively centered around – villagers, farmers, agricultural labourers, craftsmen – dwelling in small towns and villages strikes a chord with Swadeshi Movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi during Pre-Independence Era in a bid to free India from British Rule.
Though the ambitious mission unveiled last year amid Covid- 19 pandemic is less appealing for big, established players in metros, it’s a welcome boon for budding entrepreneurs in small towns and villages. With close to 3/4 of India’s population living in far-flung villages, there are numerous probabilities for nascent enterprises to venture out and flourish. Such novel best small business ideas for rural areas, villages, small towns in rural India are extremely crucial for the 5th largest economy in the world. These would embolden immaculate, energetic enterprises, aptly supported by new technological advancements, to probe novel business opportunities and conquer unexplored markets, uncharted territories.
Few business ideas to start in small towns are discussed below:
1. Organic Farming –
Agriculture has been the mainstay of the Indian Economy and would be so in the distant
future. Over the years, over-use of artificial seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides,
insecticides have not only affected the soil quality adversely but also altered nutrient levels in agricultural produce. Simultaneously, these have raised air and water pollution levels and severely damaged humans, especially children and senior citizens. Off late, there is an increasing trend of Organic Farming – cultivating plants and vegetables entirely in a biological manner – avoiding synthetic substances entirely. It even boosts soil fertility levels, reduces pollution and wastage without disturbing ecological balance, and has no ill-effects on humans.
2. Milk & Dairy Products –
Indian agriculture won’t function smoothly without cows and buffalos as well as goats, sheep and camels. Over the years, milk being a crucial source of vitamins and proteins to infants, pregnant women, and senior citizens, is quintessential food. Milk centres to procure milk from dairy farmers and then store and distribute it in metros and cities provide a vital source of income to dairy companies and job opportunities to rural youth. Indians now are quite dependent on dairy products such as ghee, butter, paneer, ice cream, etc. Waste from these livestock animals plays a crucial part in boosting agricultural produce’s soil quality and nutritional value.
3. Cold Storage –
As Indian agriculture is witnessing a drastic change, jetting off from misdirected, poorly planned farming of the 20th century to strategically scheduled advanced cultivation techniques supported by satellites, there is an augmenting requirement of Cold Storages. The Indian Government has identified the necessity of cold storages and introduced a set of measures to strengthen India’s cold storage facilities, supplanting the agricultural and pharmaceutical sector. Implemented by food processing majors all over the world, dehumidifiers are designed to feed dry air uninterruptedly, irrespective of the ambient conditions, at a very low point. Refrigerated transport is accomplished in transporting shipments with specifically enabled temperature-controlled trucks, and containers chill down the shipments at regulated temperatures throughout the entire shipping process.
4. Agricultural Products Marketing & Distribution –
Agricultural Marketing is one of the best small business ideas for rural areas, villages, small towns in rural India. Right from planning, organizing, directing, and handling agricultural products, Agricultural Marketing aims to please farmers, intermediaries, and consumers. In addition to invigorating production and consumption, it kickstarts agricultural as well as overall economic development. As Indian agriculture is evolving from traditional farming to modern, technologically advanced cultivation techniques, agricultural marketing is the biggest challenge due to surplus farm production.
5. Oil Mills –
As consumers are becoming increasingly aware of numerous oil seeds available in
the market, there are mounting queries for oil diversities, indicating there is a huge scope for the Oil Mill business in India. With farm-fresh produce at hand, extracting oil from oilseeds and selling at competitive prices in local markets has a huge potential in rural India. Abstracting oil from oil seeds comprises seed selection, pre-cleaning and decortication, conditioning of seeds, heating, extraction, and filtering. Wide varieties of edible oils in India are Mustard Oil, Olive Oil, Refined Oil, Sesame Oil, and Sunflower Oil.
6. Flour Mills –
Flour Mill is an ever-green business opportunity, especially in rural India, as rotis,
chapatis, phulkas, parathas are an integral part of the household staple diet. Wheat flour (atta), Besan and Maida and Bajri, Jowar, Ragi, are also used to various bakery products such as bread, biscuits, donuts noodles, donuts, pastas, pizza bases, burger buns. As such, flour is an essential commodity in households, bakeries, restaurants, and fast-food joints; flour mills can be operational with minimum investment.
7. Livestock Farming –
Livestock Farming employing nearly 9% population in rural India, has vast livestock
Resources providing livelihood to 2/3 of rural India. With livestock contributing to 16% income of small farm households, close to 20 million people are solely dependent on livestock for their livelihoods. Apart from providing milk, meat, eggs, livestock farming serves as an additional source of income for farmers and provides employment opportunities to uneducated, unskilled labourers. Apart from raising its owners’ social security status, marginal and small farmers employ bullocks for ploughing, carting & transport of inputs and outputs. Cow dung has numerous usages, namely, for fuel, plastering material and fertilizer – cow dung manure.
8. Fertilizers & Pesticides –
Agriculture, being the backbone of the rural Indian economy, Fertilizers are an extremely vital part of the cultivation process, ensuring an influx of primary and secondary elements in required proportions. As overuse of Chemical Fertilizers has drastically affected soil, water and air levels, Indian farmers are now again shifting towards pollution-free Organic and Bio-Fertilizers. Though designed to kill insects, weeds, fungi, rodents, microbes, Pesticides are extremely harmful to humans as well as animals and birds. As pesticides contain chemical compounds, extreme precaution must be exercised while using pesticides in farms. Farmers & farm labourers are advised to hold excessive safety measures and avoid direct contact with adolescents, in particular.
9. Agro-Processing –
Agro-Processing converts farm produce into eatables, for instance, wafers, cheese,
pickles, namkeens, sweets, sauces, ketchups, juices, beverages, alcoholic drinks, etc. Agro-Processing in India has enormous untapped potential, transforming farm produce into numerous forms, lowering farm waste, enhancing food preservation, further moderating environmental impacts and bettering food security. While primary food processing renders farm produce edible, secondary and tertiary food processing transfigures raw food into familiar foods.
10. Cottage Industries –
With contribution up to 40% of total industrial output, Cottage Industry is the main pillar of Rural Indian Economy, apart from Agriculture. It has an indispensable function of engaging the illiterate, unskilled rural workforce of more than 2 million. Though being an unorganized industry, craftsmen’s functions are wood and metal handicraft, cotton, silk, wool handlooms, knitting and embroidery, carpet making, pottery, shoemaking. Preferably operated by family members, cottage industries are not mass producers, emphasize pleasing local demands. Though the traditional cottage industry is characterized as a low investment seeking enterprise, employing basic tools and conventional production methods, a clarion call is aimed at skill development programmes and technical assistance for quality improvement apart from financial aid.
In a nutshell, these are the best small business ideas for rural areas, villages & small towns in India.