Agri-Tech Startups have a major role to play in India
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population. Gross Value Added by agriculture, forestry, and fishing was estimated at Rs. 19.48 lakh crore (US$ 276.37 billion) in FY20. Share of agriculture and allied sectors in gross value added (GVA) of India at current prices stood at 17.8 % in FY20. Consumer spending in India will return to growth in 2021 post the pandemic-led contraction, expanding by as much as 6.6%.
The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to world food trade every year due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry. Indian food and grocery market is the world’s sixth largest, with retail contributing 70% of the sales. The Indian food processing industry accounts for 32% of the country’s total food market, one of the largest industries in India and is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth.
Principal agricultural commodities export for April 2020 – January 2021 was US$ 32.12 billion.
Even though we have a vast majority of population engaged in farming operations, we still have loopholes which should be filled sooner. Many unicorn startups are registered in India out of which none of them belongs to Agriculture industry. Even they are not in the list of unicorns, they are providing last mile solution to the farmers and mainly marginal farmers.
Agri-Tech Startups leading the charge
Agriculture industry has multiple sectors which perform differently. Each sector has its uniqueness and has its own importance. Agriculture industry is one of the least focused industry in India in terms of technological growth as compared to education, medical and finance sector. There are some startups having an aim to make Indian farming sector one of the largest contributor in GDP, as it has near to 60% of the population directly or indirectly dependent. To name a few, AgroStar, CropIn Technology, Ninjacart, Waycool are creating a different model for farming sector.
We buy and sell electronic, clothing, financial products and services from e-commerce platforms. Even though we had number of companies producing farming machineries and other essential tools had no such platform for farmers to buy and sell.
AgroStar became one of such providers by having a range of products from seeds to all the fertilisers needed. Company is currently active in 5 major satet of India Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh.
Waycool is one such startup which has proved that agri-business can be managed by technology. Waycool currently handles more than 350 tonnes of food products per day, from a network of 50, 000+ farmers in more than 50 regions of India.
Digitizing farming sector will lead to cost effective and sustainable farming. Utilizing drones to monitor and spray fertilizers on the field is one those transformational ideas which reduces physical strain and improves the quantity and quality of the produce.
Agri-Tech startups are providing the cloud based solutions in order to compare the previous data and work according to that. Providing training to the farmers about new technology introduced is also one of the features pointed. Startups guide FPOs (Farmers Produce Organizations) about the government policies and market trend with their immense level of data study.
Farmers Development Centers (FDCs) are getting in touch with farmers as one stop solution. They guide and provide every necessary information and products in these centers which help them produce according to the need. Startups collect data from various regions and time frame to deeply understand the pattern. Climate change is one the threat to farming industry, as the weather keeps changing it directly affects the production cycle of the crops.
Young entrepreneurs turning in to as Agripreneurs are coming up with some unique ideas to cater the sector high in need for innovation. Big tractors were not so useful in small farms. That was the key area where some agri experts invented small capacity tractors which were affordable to marginal farmers and easy to maintain. Now we get an opportunity to see and read many such examples of innovation in agriculture sector as young generation is turning towards it as a mainstream business.
Startups are trying their level best to provide all necessary services to farmers and whole agriculture industry in order to improve farmer’s life standard. It is all about accepting the technological changes and advancements. We are expecting drastic turnaround in Indian agriculture industry as the young generation fills the gap we were witnessing for so many years.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and SwiftNLift is not responsible for any errors in the same.
– by Parag Ahire