Start-ups in agriculture technology in the country are likely to receive a record $1 billion this fiscal, taking total investment to $2.5 billion since 2012, according to industry estimates.

Participating at a conference on agri Start-ups, organised by industry chamber FICCI, Hemendra Mathur, chairman of its Task Force on Agri start-ups and venture partner at Bharat Innovation Fund said that the opportunity is immense in the sector and “the total investment will touch $2.5 billion by end of this fiscal.”

He said Indian AgriTech is entering its third phase, which will be driven by increasing farmer adoption of new-age innovations and a significant degree of consolidation.

Third position

According to a report, prepared by PwC and was released on the occasion, global investment in AgriTech start-ups was $91.5 billion until Q1 2021 (since 2012) and the last two years (2019-2020) accounted for 51 per cent of investments. India is in third position after the US and China in terms of AgriTech funding, the report said adding investments were to the tune of $45 million till 2011.

In 2020, the total value of annual investment declined by 35 per cent to $409 million, as against $635 million in 2019. As many as 45 AgriTechs have raised funds in 2020 compared with 58 firms in 2019, the report said. It has also mentioned that investments worth $10 billion are expected in the next decade.

Speaking at the event Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said, “The evolving technologies and agri innovations are to be mainstreamed and deployed in the fields.” He also said that there has to be efficiency, climate resilience and high productivity with quality and the country needs more and more players to be part of it.

Govt’s encouragement

Stressing that the government promoted e-NAM (electronic National Agriculture Market) has encouraged private sector to come up with several electronic market platforms, Neelkamal Darbari, Managing Director of Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) said that there will be another 1,000 mandis will be integrated under the portal after 1,000 already connected. She also said that the government is planning to create “a platform of platforms” to link up all the portals available in the country for all activities related to the farming sector.

“This will also create greater synergy for the farmers to reduce the cost of operations and improve pricing for the product,” Darbari said.

Other participants in the event included TR Kesavan, Group President, TAFE, Vivek Chandra, CEO (global branded business) of LT Foods and Amit Mundawala, co-founder of Star Agribazaar Technology.