India has entered that era where innovation is the word of the day. Almost as if in cohesion, the widespread emergence of start-ups has been the standout feature of this new era of ‘Make in India’. All sectors have been heavily impacted by this new wave of innovation. Agriculture is no different. The Indian economy is heavily reliant on its agricultural produce. Roughly 18 percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 50 percent of the country’s workforce have agriculture to thank.
The start-up culture hasn’t left agriculture alone, and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) recently estimated that India is home to more than 450 agritech start-ups, with an estimated growth rate of nearly 25 percent. As of June 2019, the sector has received a funding of more than $248 million, a growth of 300% as compared to the previous year. Debjani Ghosh, President of NASSCOM, said in a statement, “India’s agriculture sector is advancing steadily towards its digital transformation and the startup ecosystem is playing a critical role here, bringing innovation and disruption in much-needed areas. The findings of the report are a testimony to the potential of the agritech industry and the opportunities that India presents in the agriculture and farming landscape.”
Fortunately enough, local farmers have been more than welcoming to innovative startup solutions. Corporates and investors are crucial to this heavy investment in Business-to-business startups, thus making it the key source of revenue in the overall agritech sector. This has enabled creating more efficient channels of communication with the market, and faster technology adoption and adaptation. Indian companies are increasingly looking at global markets to expand.
Few of the agritech startups that are leading this revolution today are:
Agrostar- Provides farmers access to a range of solutions and products
NinjaCart- Enables vegetable and fruit farmers to connect directly with businesses.
Crofarm- Sells fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers and sell them to retailers
Bombay Hemp Company- Medical use cases of cannabis
Stellapps- End-to-end dairy tech solutions
CropIn- Connects food companies, government agencies and farmers
Aarav Unmanned Systems- Commercial applications of drones
Gramophone- Connects food companies, government agencies, and farmers
Ugaoo- Online portal for selling gardening and farming products
EM3 Agri- Farm equipment service on a pay-per-use basis
With the aid of public-private partnerships and the government, several progressive agritech policies have been established. There is more that could still be done though, to create an environment conducive to the growth of agritech startups in India. Offering support in terms of incubation, acceleration, funding, the opening of incubation centers, curriculum updating in universities, and engaging with startups in larger projects, needs to be implemented to nourish the agritech sector in India.