The ministry of agriculture, on Thursday (August 6), announced that it is planning to invest nearly INR 36.71 Cr in 346 agritech startups and startup working in allied sectors like agro-processing, artificial intelligence, digital agriculture, farm mechanisation, waste to wealth, dairy, fisheries among others.
The ministry also highlighted that it has already invested INR 11.85 Cr in 112 startups so far, and will be investing additional INR 24.85 Cr in 234 startups soon. The investment will be a part of a ‘component, innovation and agri-entrepreneurship development programme’ under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in this domain by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.
“The Union government accords very high priority to the agriculture sector. In order to contribute directly and indirectly to enhancing the income of farmers by providing opportunities to them and to provide employment to youth, start-ups are being encouraged,” the ministry said in a press statement.
The programme will offer two-months-long “agri-preneurship orientation” with a monthly stipend of INR 10K, along with mentorship on financial, technical, intellectual property (IP) related issues and more. It has also set up 24 RKVY-RAFTAAR Agribusiness Incubators (R-ABIs), which will offer a seed-stage funding up to INR 25 Lakh. Of this, 85% will be through grants while the remaining 15% contribution will be from the incubatee.
For an idea or pre-seed stage startup, the programme will offer funding up to INR 5 Lakh — 90% in grants and 10% contribution from the incubatees. Some startups are already being incubated under this programme.
These include veterinary doctors’ platform Activx Animal Health Technologies branded as Vetzz, SNL Innovations — InnoFarms they provides processed fruit and vegetable pulp, eco-friendly water retention polymer platform EF Polymer, AI-powered waste management system company A2P Energy Solution, data analytics platform Agsmartic Technologies, and Kyari Innovations that mitigated human wildlife conflicts.
“Besides the above mentioned six startups, there are many more with innovative solutions to improve the farming ecosystem and augment farm household incomes,” the ministry of agriculture said in the press statement. The ministry believes that these startups will generate employment and contribute to enhancing the income of farmers.
According to DataLabs by Inc42+ report, the agritech startups raised $244.59 Mn in 2019, representing an increase of over 350% from the previous year. Some of the startups in this domain are AgNext, Aquaconnect, Fasal, Intello Labs and others.