Agritech startups and companies will be engaged to deliver the latest technology education to farmers and aid in implementation
Use of kisan drones will be promoted for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, and spraying of insecticides and nutrients
A fund with blended capital raised under co-investment model will be facilitated through the NABARD for agritech startups
Presenting her fourth Union Budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that agritech startups and companies will be engaged in public-private partnerships to deliver the latest technology education to farmers and aid in implementation. The FM also announced other policies and government-run funds for agritech startups in the drone and farming-as-a-service at the Union Budget 2022-23.
In the 2021 Union Budget , the departments under the agriculture ministry were allocated a total amount of INR 1,31 Lakh Cr, which has increased to INR 1.32 Lakh Cr in the 2022 Budget.
A fund with blended capital raised under co-investment model will be facilitated through the NABARD to finance agritech startups and rural enterprises relevant to farming. Startups supporting food producer organisations, farm rental services and other technology such as IT-based support will be eligible for funding under this scheme.
Secondly, Sitharaman added that the use of ‘kisan drones’ will be promoted for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, and spraying of insecticides and nutrients. States will be encouraged to revise agriculture education syllabi to meet the needs of modern-day farming and organic farming, value-addition to the agricultural chain. This is likely to boost India’s drone sector, which has thus far been struggling to make deep inroads into the market.
“Scheme in PPP mode to be introduced, for delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers, with involvement of public sector research and extension institutions and stakeholders of agri value chains.” – Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
India’s agritech startup ecosystem has flourished in the past couple of years and the funding for this sector has also burgeoned. As per Inc42 analysis, India is home to over 150 agritech startups.
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Startups such as DeHaat, Ninjacart, Agrowave, BharatAgri, BigHaat, Bijak, Gramophone, Krishify, Cropin among others have raised funds in the past couple of years. In 2021, agritech startups raised $684 Mn across 47 deals. The total funding for agritech between 2014 and 2021 has crossed the $1 Bn mark.
The FM also announced an allocation of INR 2.37 Lakh Cr to farmers for buying crops under the minimum support price. “Chemical free, natural farming will be promoted throughout the country, beginning with 5-km-wide corridors along the river Ganga,” Sitharaman said, adding that a comprehensive package for participation of state governments and MSMEs will be introduced to enable farmers to adopt natural and modern farming techniques.
Support will be provided for branding millet products nationally and internationally, while a scheme will be implemented to lower dependence on imports of oil seeds.