Farmers and agritech startups in India have evolved rapidly over the past few years due to digital penetration and funding, majorly driving the growth in this sector.
Indian agritech startups have received 300 per cent more funding in the first six months of 2019 than the total funding received in 2018. Agritech companies raised $ 248 million until June 2019, which was only $ 73 million in 2018, according to NASSCOM. “Farmers and agritech startups in India have evolved rapidly over the past few years due to digital penetration and funding, majorly driving the growth in this sector,” says the report. New areas in the agritech sector such as market linkage, digital agriculture, better access to inputs, farming as a service (FaaS) and financing are attracting more and more stakeholders to connect with this new trend in agriculture. Indian agritech companies are also focussing on South East Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
NinjaCart remained the top-funded Indian startup with funding of $ 89 mn received in 2019. Samunnati Financial Intermediation, AgroStar, WayCool and Jumbotail remained the other startups with the highest funding till June. Tiger, Accel, BII, omnivore and Nuveen remained the top 5 investors till June 2019.
- Employment rationalisation — Even with a larger section of the population engaged in agriculture, the sector is not the largest contributor in the GDP. Solutions that enable farm automation and aggregation can rationalise and gainfully redistribute the workforce.
- Processing and exports — India ranks among the top 5 countries in food processing. By 2024, the sector is estimated to employ 90 lakh people. Streamlining and traceability can improve farmer income and exports.
- Stakeholder empowerment — Mandis and food processing organisations need digitization to bring more transparency into transactions. Data and market connect can empower each stakeholder.
- Streamlining supply chain — Post-harvest loss in India amounts to $ 13 billion, according to NASSCOM. Demand-driven cold chains, warehouse monitoring solutions and market linkage can significantly decrease such losses and boost farmer incomes.
- Resource maximisation — 80 per cent of India’s freshwater is used in agriculture. Reduction in the usage of water and pesticides is a significant business opportunity.
- Digital Infrastructure — The lack of data and insights at ground and farmer level has restricted the direct benefit transfer schemes to do much good to the farmers. Laying the digital work, solutions that build a layer of data can transform DBT schemes, insurance and loan disbursal.
Every 9th agritech startup in the world is from India. Compared to 3,103 global agritech startups, there are 450 agritech startups operating in India, which are growing at 25 per cent annually. The government has also started to show interest in the field of agritech. Maharashtra launched ‘Agri – Tech’ scheme for digitally tracking agriculture management, Karnataka set up an Agritech fund of $ 2.5 million with an aim to target at least 21 startups, NITI Aayog has started a pilot project on precision agriculture using AI in 10 districts from seven states and Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra have launched an agri open data portal to promote technology as an important tool in agriculture.