Innovation to have big impact on Indian agri sector next decade, says Omnivore report

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on August 27, 2020

Venture capital firm Omnivore on Thursday launched its report on “The Future of Indian Agriculture and Food Systems: Vision 2030,” which explores how new technologies, demographic trends and climate change will impact the country’s agri and food systems over the next decade.

The report highlights eight key trends that will drive the future of agriculture in India, with the critical caveat that climate change could negate this positive direction if not reckoned with.

The key trends are: Precision agriculture and automation creating a “farm of one”; Biotechnology will produce tastier, more nutritious, and eco-friendly crops; Farms & farmers will be connected, digitised, and smart; Farmer-consumer intimacy will improve value for both; Majority of rural jobs will be of higher value and non-agro; More fresh greens, harvested and delivered, on-demand; Diversity, quality, and sustainability of food sources will increase; Food will increasingly (and scientifically) replace medicine.

Paradigm shift

The report points out the need for investment in horticulture, dairy, poultry, aquaculture, and food processing. It anticipates a future with significant advances in farm mechanisation and automation, including farm robots taking over labour-intensive tasks and reducing drudgery.

The report further notes that India’s agricultural workforce in the future will be smaller, younger, and more gender diverse, and will move towards higher productivity jobs. Beyond encouraging more women entrepreneurs, the rural non-farm economy will become actively digitised, stimulating a mass entrepreneurship movement around agricultural technologies.

Jinesh Shah, Managing Partner, Omnivore, said, “India’s agri-tech sector is witnessing a paradigm shift catalysed by digitisation and rural smartphone penetration. Spearheading this change are agri-tech start-ups who are driving a transformation in Indian agriculture towards profitability, resilience, nutrition, and sustainability. Our ‘Vision 2030’ report clearly shows that innovation, technology, and agri-tech entrepreneurship will deliver tremendous growth in the next decade.”

Ag-tech start-ups

Another striking trend that the report points out is Khet to Kirana: the increased demand for traceability and transparency in the food supply chain for both the farmer and the consumer. With middle-class driving the consumption trend, the growing concern for food hygiene, nutrition, and sustainability will increase awareness about labels and food hygiene. Over 90 per cent of kirana stores across the country will be digitised by 2025 and be linked to modern traceable logistics which will further benefit the transparency of supply chain between the farmer and consumer, it said.

“Vision 2030 is Omnivore’s effort to cut through the noise and hear the signal of the future. We believe the decade ahead of us will be the most transformative for Indian agriculture and food systems since the Green Revolution. Agritech entrepreneurs will be the MS Swaminathan and Norman Borlaug of this period revolutionising the lives of 130 million farmers, their families and rural communities across India,” said Mark Kahn, Managing Partner, Omnivore.

Published on August 27, 2020

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