To promote entrepreneurship at the grassroots level, the Indian government may soon set up a dedicated cell for agriculture startups and small entrepreneurs. Through the platform, the government will ensure different technologies are uploaded and shared with the public. The idea is to encourage more startups in the agritech sector.
“There are numerous areas where startups can help farmers reduce costs and increase income,” said national rainfed area authority (NRRA) CEO Ashok Dalwai while addressing at a FICCI event.
The platform will ensure that standardised and structured data is accessed free of cost. “The biggest problem in getting data is that there is no data standardisation and no structure that can be uniformly interpreted. We need to start looking at building up of database related to all aspects of agriculture and how it can be digitally translated,” he said.
Agritech Startups In India
There are more than 1,090 agritech startups in India. According to Inc42 DataLabs, the total funding in agritech startups in India grew from $46.1 Mn 2017 to $66.6 Mn in 2018. Other than the big startups in the agriculture space including AgNext, Ninjakart, Dehaat, Samunnati, Farmart, many other agritech startups are also catching the attention of investors.
Agritech startup, Fasal, raised seed funding of $1.6 Mn led by Omnivore and Wavemaker Partners in October 2019. The IoT-SaaS platform plans to use the funding to build AI capabilities for each horticulture value chain where the company is focused.
Recently, Netherland development finance company, FMO Entrepreneurial Development Bank, announced that will soon be investing $5.2 Mn (INR 37.31 Cr) in Chennai-based WayCool Foods And Products for Infrastructure development. According to FMO, the company focuses on India’s fragmented food value chains and leverages technology and automation to improve logistics and distribution services, reduce food waste, increase farmer income and improve the quality of the product for the consumer.
In August 2019, Indore-based agritech startup Gramophone raised $3.5 Mn in an equity funding round. Existing investor Info Edge Ventures, along with Raveen Sastry, cofounder, Myntra and Asha Impact participated in the round. The funds were diverted to investment in product, data science and scale up operations across locations.
While the number of agritech startups has increased in the last few years, with farming being a $400 Bn industry in India, the growth of the sector is dependent on better government policies and further investments.