Agriculture has long been the backbone of the Indian economy and provides livelihood to a large section of the population. But with the world becoming increasingly connected and technology advancing rapidly, agriculture in India is poised for major changes. Disruptive agricultural technologies (DATs) have the potential to change the way farmers work, increase yields, reduce waste, and improve production. In this article, we will explore the impact of DATs on agriculture in India, as well as the support and infrastructure needs for agtech start-ups in this space.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), India’s agriculture sector could reach $24 billion by 2025, with DAT approval playing a key role in fueling its growth. Technologies such as surveillance and smart irrigation systems, both of which have the potential to transform the industry, as well as precision agriculture and drone-based monitoring of crops, will drive it. According to the Niti Aayog, AI in agriculture is expected to grow at a rate of 22.5 per cent CAGR, and is likely to be valued at $2.6 billion by 2025.

Biggest advantage

One of the biggest advantages of DAT is its ability to provide real-time information to farmers about their crops. For example, sensors can be used to measure soil moisture levels, allowing farmers to better irrigate their crops. This not only reduces water consumption but also increases productivity and quality. Similarly, precision farming techniques can be used to increase fertilizer use efficiency, reduce waste, and improve soil health.

The adoption of DATs is already underway in India, with start-ups such as CropIn and Ninjacart leading the way. CropIn provides farmers with real-time information on crop health and weather conditions, while NinjaCart uses a technology platform to directly connect farmers and retailers, reducing waste and increasing profits for both parties. However, to reach the full potential of DATs in India, support and resources are needed for agtech start-ups in this space. crowdfunding Overcoming this requires new sources of funding, such as impact investors and crowd funding platforms.

Another challenge agtech start-ups face is the lack of infrastructure and support systems. For example, many farmers in India do not have access to the internet and other digital technologies, making it difficult for them to use DATs. To address this, partnerships between agtech start-ups and local governments and NGOs can help provide farmers with the services and training they need to adopt this technology.

Innovative initiatives in India have provided just such support to both agtech start-ups as well as smallholder farmers to improve access to and adoption of disruptive agriculture technologies. Intellecap designed and implemented a unique proposition, the ‘SMART Agtech Integration Facility 2022’, for the Government of Maharashtra and the World Bank in a joint endeavour to build a resilient and robust agriculture technology ecosystem in the state.

This is a unique collaborative concept which connected over 35 DAT solution providers with more than 200 community-based organisations (CBOs) and provided them with the most relevant solutions to address their critical technological needs. Similarly, Intellecap implemented the ‘Odisha AgTech Challenge 2022’ for the Government of Odisha, the World Bank and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office of the UK to solve critical issues in key agriculture value-chains and increase farmer profitability in Odisha. It invited agtech enterprises working in key agriculture value chains to test or scale their product through a pilot project in the state, and provided financial support through grants to scale up their operations, as well as outreach, incubation and mentorship support, in addition to on-ground network support for the same.

In conclusion, the adoption of DAT has the potential to transform the agricultural industry in India, increasing productivity, reducing waste and improving productivity but to achieve this potential, this area is needed support and resources for agtech start-ups, with additional funding and partnerships with local governments. By supporting more disruptive agtech start-ups, we can build a sustainable and profitable agriculture industry in India.

 The author is associate - marketing, Intellecap