India is a land of wealth when it comes to agriculture. The country’s agricultural sector is the source of livelihood for almost 58% of India’s 1.3 Bn-strong population. With technology progressing at a breakneck pace, every industry has witnessed large-scale integration of tech-led innovations and the agricultural sector is no exception. However, the developments in the agritech industry have been relatively slow as compared to other sectors such as finance, travel, entertainment such as OTT platforms, and even the food industry.
While the agritech industry is still at a very nascent stage, recent times have seen an uptick in terms of progress in the incorporation of advanced technology. With the ongoing global scenario, the growth in tech adoption is likely to accelerate over the next few months. Why? The Covid-19 pandemic has put a major strain on almost all sectors and agriculture is one amongst them. In a world where social distancing has become the norm and the global outbreak increasing our reliance on technology, the agriculture industry will most definitely observe a plethora of ground-breaking trends, a majority of which will be led by innovative technology. Here are some agritech trends to look out for this year.
Cutting-Edge Tech For Informed Decisions
New-age technologies such as AI and ML allow remote monitoring of fields and crops and offer real-time updates. The predictive technologies will help reduce the risk associated with farming. Farmers suffer because they are not able to predict or forecast the events and happenings with respect to their farm. This is where predictive models will pick up and start delivering relevant, contextual knowledge with the farmers and arm them to take the right decisions for their farms.
With video-based diagnostics, quality checks of the field and crops and farmer education, the role of technology is key in helping farmers make informed decisions. This year will see these technologies in the agritech sector gain traction for high yielding crops and increased income for farmers. Accessibility to information and periodic updates will become standard practice and will no longer be a luxury.
The Rise In Fintech’s Involvement And FPOs
With the agritech industry progressing, there will be a rise in brands merging fintech and agritech to enable digital farming. Fintech firms will be ramping up their involvement in agribusinesses since the traditional way of organized sources of funding will see a disruption partially induced by the pandemic. In fact, Indian agritech startups had received a funding of $248 Mn in the first half of 2019, according to NASSCOM. We will also be seeing a rise in companies that are enabling intermediary parties such as FPOs (Farmer Producer Organisations). The government’s heightened focus on the agricultural industry to help it thrive will also be a contributing factor for FPOs’ integration with deep technology.
In addition to this, lending in rural areas has been minimal due to a considerable lack of necessary data. This year will witness data-driven lending and decision making with the help of AI-led credit. Implementing this can bring about a profound change in the agritech industry and propel its overall growth.
Bolstered Supply Chains
A stable and efficient supply chain is key for any business, and even more important in agriculture-based businesses. While the pandemic has disrupted supply chains across the world, agritech businesses majorly rely on efficient supply chains owing to the perishable nature of food. Driven by technology, agritech businesses will improve traceability, transportation, and storage to ensure reduced food wastage. With increased innovations in the agritech sector, companies enabling the crop yields using technology will see increased business.
Since the onset of the pandemic, physical distancing has become standard practice. Additionally, with more and more people choosing to move to urban cities in search of better standards of living, there is a significant labour shortage. The advent of technology, however, will pave the way for amplified mechanisation in the industry. This will be particularly evident in developed markets that project a major shortage of manual labour. Apart from this, mechanisation also optimises cost and increases efficiency
With such tech-driven transformations, we can certainly expect a radical change. In India’s agritech industry with immensely improved outcomes. These trends, when implemented, will certainly lead the way to create a promising future for the agritech sector.