Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector – India


The Green Innovation Centre India wants small-scale farming enterprises and rural entrepreneurs to get more money out of their work. To achieve this, we disseminate innovations along value chains based on three crops: tomato, potato and apple. We work in line with priorities of the Government of India, such as ‘Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022’.


  • Boosting the productivity and income of 111,300 small-scale farming enterprises by at least 30 per cent through innovative practices in agriculture
  • Creating 1,800 new jobs for eco-preneurs, especially for youth and women and provide training and education for 139,000 farmers and entrepreneurs
  • Advising on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and support the setting up of farmers organisations



Smart Farming App
for real-time customised advice
Model nurseries
for healthy seedlings
Adapted machinery
for soil preparation, planting and harvesting on small fields
Good Agricultural Practices
including cost-effective and optimised water-, nutrient, pest & disease management
Improved (cold) storage
for optimised post-harvest handling



We had no previous experience in nursery management but purchased two acres of land to start our nursery business’, tells Kalavathi. ‘High quality seedlings are of utmost importance. The better the seedling, the better the crop and yield. Therefore, we are setting up model nurseries for tomato crops.’

The Green Innovation Centre gave us valuable technical guidance and provided inputs and working capital. One highlight was an exposure visit to the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research to learn about best practices for nurseries. The turnover of our nursery has increased by over 55 percent between 2017 and May 2018. We are now a successful family business and there is a huge demand from farmers all around for our high quality and healthy tomato seedlings.’

Balasahib Sawant is very proud of his latest project: a cold storage in which he can store approximately 5.000 tonnes of potatoes. The 57-year-old is a potato trader from Peth, a region located in the North of Pune. Balasahib supplies farmers with seed potatoes and also stores their harvest.

Cold storage and post-harvest handling are crucial for potato farmers: ‘ The availability of good quality seeds is one of the big issues for growing potato in this region. We need local cold storage facilities in which we can store the seed potatoes from seed to harvest. This allows better quality and better prices. The newly established cold storage with technical support of the Green Innovation Centre was first step ’, says Balasahib.

Our exposure seminar to apple growers in South Tyrol, Italy, was a real eye opener for me’, says Naresh Kashyap from Shimla, in the midst of the Himalayan mountains. ‘I finally understood the “high density plantation” (HDP) concept. Earlier, I believed that HDP can only be done on flat land. But after seeing the production stock, pattern, quality and quantity in Italy it struck my mind. If Italians can grow apples in mountainous areas, then we can do this as well! Now, I try to convey to all farmers that it is time to switch to that modern type of plantation. This will benefit us farmers in the subsequent years.’

Along with facilitating the shift of Indian apple farms to high density plantations, the Green Innovation Centre supports among others the establishment and improvement of nurseries, develops sustainable nutrient, pest and disease management practices and improves post-harvest handling.

Umadevi from Karnataka (Chitradurga district) was selling self-made tamarind chutney to the local eateries as an extra source of income. In 2018, she was identified as a ‘High Potential Rural Youth’ (HPRY) under the ‘Fast Track Programme’ by the Myrada Green College. The programme trains rural youth to become self-reliant eco-preneurs.

‘After I was identified as a HPRY, I received a training on ‘Preparation of Business Plan and Media and Communication Skills’. Through the training, I learned about packaging and branding. I also gathered the confidence to talk to shop owners to increase my customer base’, she tells. ‘Now, I sell the tamarind chutney bottled and labelled under my own name and I make more money.’


We work with government agencies, research institutes, non-governmental organizations and private companies. If  you are interested in a cooperation, please contact greeninnovationcentreindia@giz.de.


Gerrit Qualitz
Project Director
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbHNo. 38/43, 1st Floor, 10th A Main Road, 5th Cross 1st Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, India
M (India): +91 7042 0456 25
L (India): +91 80 46664000 (Ext. 6022)