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Is it time for the Indian Government to Focus on Agri-Startups?

Agriculture has a greater impact on everyone's life in India than any other industry. The agriculture employs 60% of Indians directly or indirectly and accounts for around 18% of country’s GDP. India is one of the greatest producers of several agricultural crops, yet the productivity is poor.

Sonali Behera
Startups have helped farmers increase their revenue through farm diversification.
Startups have helped farmers increase their revenue through farm diversification.

Startups are crucial for encouraging innovation in society. By being innovative, these startups not only challenge the market dominance of large corporations but also offer fewer complex answers to the issues they face. Just like every other sector booming, a new wave of entrepreneurs and startups even in the agriculture sector are coming up with their innovations as an aid for the stressed farmers and answering the problems of Indian Agriculture.

Although there are many players operating in this space, still there’s plenty of scope for new ventures. Entrepreneurs from around the world have tapped the Indian market. International businesses often have superior funding and more available resources, which poses a serious challenge to Indian entrepreneurs. Since the Indian government has been gradually liberalizing its economy to FDI, it could indicate that foreign businesses will start entering the agriculture market which needs to be protected.

India follows conventional agriculture where small and marginal farmers are in a dire situation due to poor incomes, growing debt, reliance on mono-crop farming, unregulated lending, and unpredictable output prices. These startups have helped farmers increase their revenue through farm diversification. The mono-crop culture scenario is also being changed due to which farm diversification in many ways has emerged. Management of quality and traceability organizations are helping farmers achieve better results through high-quality crops.

The missing link between farmers, input dealers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers has been filled in by agri-startups. Ninjacart began as a farmer-to-consumer business but quickly transitioned to a farmer-to-business venture after seeing the urge to focus on issues in the agri-food supply chain and achieve bigger-scale impacts. Dehaati Beej se Bazaar Tak is a full-stack agri-service start-up that looks into business-to-farmers models. It basically uses data science related to agriculture and analyze it for a thriving ecosystem for farmers, micro-entrepreneurs, and institutional buyers.

Startups in these sectors are crucial support for India's future economy. These entrepreneurs are presenting creative concepts and cost-effective solutions to a variety of problems encountered by the agricultural sector, thereby increasing farmers' income and generating job opportunities. These start-ups are adopting cutting-edge technologies as a result of the rising internet accessibility, smartphone adoption, and numerous government efforts in rural areas in the agricultural sector to change current farming methods and boost output and farm income. They serve the farming community and contribute to the nation's economic growth. To encourage investment in the agribusiness start-up industry, the government should establish an investor-friendly policy and help them collaborate with field experts.

The need for Indian agriculture to convert from the existing industrial model into a new futuristic and sustainable one has never been more critical due to the country's growing population, climate change and impending food security issues. The agricultural industry may advance India's farming community by making small but sustained adjustments. Agri-startups, digital infrastructure, and creative technology can help usher in a digital and sustainable farming model with more assistance from the government.

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