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Agritech Startups Critical To India’s Future Economy: MoS Jitendra Singh

Agritech Startups Critical To India’s Future Economy: MoS Jitendra Singh

Agritech startups are solving problems related to supply chain management, improper infrastructure and inability of farmers to access a wider range of markets: Singh

The increase in smartphone penetration and emergence of startups are facilitating fast technology adoption in the farm sector: MoS Singh

He called for leveraging ‘Drone Shakti’ to enhance produce, efficiency and revenue in the sector

Union Minister of State For Science and Technology Jitendra Singh on Friday (May 20) said that agritech startups are critical to India’s future economy. 

Addressing a conclave in Mysuru, the minister said that a new wave of agritech startups has emerged in the country in the last few years. These startups, Singh said, are solving problems related to supply chain management, improper infrastructure and inability of farmers to access a wider range of markets.

“Young entrepreneurs are now quitting their jobs in the IT sector and MNCs to establish their own startups. These young entrepreneurs are now beginning to realise that investing in agriculture is one of the very few safe and profitable businesses” Singh said

He also said, “Many startups have come up providing innovative and sustainable solutions for farmers’ problems and are providing solutions … that are bound to increase farmers income. The increase in smartphone penetration and emergence of startups were facilitating fast technology adoption in the farm sector.”

Singh also advocated for use of new technologies in the agriculture sector. Referring to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget speech, the MoS called for leveraging ‘Drone Shakti’ to enhance produce, efficiency and revenue in the sector. 

Agritech: Solving The Perennial Problem

Despite being called India’s backbone, the agriculture sector continues to lag behind. It contributes 16.5% to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 43% of the Indian workforce. The sector has been bogged down by challenges from poor yield to traditional mechanisms of operations which stifle economic prosperity of farmers.

A slew of agritech startups have sprung up across the country to provide solutions to these problems. Last year, agritech startups raised close to $684 Mn across 47 deals. In total, the agritech sector raised $1 Bn in funding between 2014 and 2021.

Startups such as DeHaat, Ninjacart, Agrowave, BharatAgri, BigHaat, Bijak, Gramophone, Krishify, Cropin, among others, compete with each other in the sector.

An Inc42 report estimates that India’s addressable agritech market will reach $24.1 Bn by 2025.

Earlier this week, Walmart-backed Ninjacart raised close to $9 Mn from South Korea-based STIC Investment and Singapore-based Main Street Digital at a valuation of $812 Mn. In May, another Bengaluru-based agritech startup Fyllo secured $2 Mn in funding from institutional investors such as Triveni Trusts, Ninjacart and others.

Agritech startup Absolute also raised $100 Mn in its first institutional funding round in May this year from Sequoia Capital India, Alpha Wave Global and Tiger Global at a valuation of $500 Mn. 

In April, New Delhi-based Poshn raised $3.7 Mn in its seed funding round led by Prime Venture Partners along with Zephyr Peacock. 

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