By Vrinda Gupta:
India is an agro-based economy and agricultural activities employ 43% of the total workforce, compared to 18% in China and 2% in the USA.
Our country is also known for its young population. It is expected that the average age of an Indian by 2020 will be 28 years, compared to 37 years for China and 48 for Japan.
These statistics make it evident that if the Indian youth helps fulfil India’s agrarian needs, the country could reach new heights and speed up its developmental process even further than the expected growth of 7.3% this year.
The central government has mentioned that it aims to double farmers’ income by 2022. This mission provides a fresh avenue and push to the businesses of agricultural technology start-ups.
The government has realised and acknowledged the potential of the startup culture spearheaded by the Indian youth. Several agri-tech startups are now working with state governments on farmer programmes, that are helping to increase the revenues of farmers by almost 2-3 times.
Here’s a list of some of the agri-tech start-ups that are collaborating with state governments to produce a large impact on the Indian economy.
With about 35,000 farmers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, a part of this tech-based marketplace, DeHaat has recently partnered with the Bihar government on state initiatives aimed at improving the livelihood of farmers. Shashank Kumar, the founder of DeHaat, said, “To achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ incomes, Bihar has released its ambitious Krishi Road Map 2022, which includes support for greenhouse farming, drip irrigation, issuing soil health cards to farmers, and promotion of high-value crops… We play a complementary role by enabling farmers to drop their soil samples at DeHaat centres and handing them their soil health cards a few days later. We also provide customized crop alerts.”
Each DeHaat caters to up to 1,000 farmers in a catchment area of six to eight kilometres and is run by local micro-entrepreneurs and Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs).
The startup gives the vendors a tablet equipped with an application for solving farm-related queries and provides agricultural inputs (which are 10-12%cheaper than the market).
DeHaat is in talks with the Government of Bihar for a collaboration focused on enabling mobile technology and facilitating the creation of an accessible and exhaustive crop pest database for improved crop monitoring and data collection.
An agri-tech startup aims to implement low-cost farming solutions that help small farmers increase yield and predictability of produce.
Kheyti has developed a technology called ‘Greenhouse-in-a-box’, which is an affordable, modular greenhouse bundled with full stack services that use 90% less water, grows 7 times more food and gives farmers a steady and dependable income.
Kheyti is working with the Government of Telangana. Other initiatives that will be included by the state government include a 75-100% subsidy for greenhouses provided by the department of horticulture to farmers.
An agri-tech food accelerator startup, created in 2018, Gastrotope is going to start its first ‘Farm to Fork’ acceleration program which is called “Fortissimo”.
This program is a joint acceleration program between Gastrotope and the Government of Andhra Pradesh, running operations in Visakhapatnam. An investment of up to ₹5 crore into 10 startups in India by Gastrotope is also in works as per reports.
Agrostar cofounder Shardul Sheth declared, “Agritech startups in the country are also likely to establish a formal association this year or the next that would allow them to collaborate better with state governments.”
A version of this post was first published here.