Agritech is short for “agricultural technology.” It involves all the technology, modern products, and services used in agriculture to increase yield, efficiency, and profitability.
This could include equipment like water filters and water pumps or digital services like apps that connect buyers to sellers in the rural markets or heirloom seeds, chemical free fertilizers, and smart agriculture techniques.
The agricultural sector in India employs half our population. We are greatly dependent on the farmers and agricultural labourers in India to provide us with a means of sustenance. Yet, this is one of the riskiest sectors to be employed in because it is dependent on uncontrollable factors like weather, topographical conditions and the constantly changing government policies.
Still, we continue to rely on this sector heavily. The recent difficulties faced by farmers like unfavourable weather conditions and rising debt have once again brought agriculture to the notice of the mainstream media and the minds of the ruling politicians. Efforts are being made to give this sector and its workers a much-needed boost.
And the biggest way of doing this is through advancements in agritech. Modern techniques and methods will surely elevate agriculture to the next level and ease the burden on farmers.
Here’s how that can happen.
Agritech In India Today
Within the last two years, as agriculture has come back into the public mindset, there has been an increased interest in investing in this sector. The government too has finally played its part by allocating a higher budget to agriculture sector as was announced in the Union Budget 2016-17.
Related Article: How Precision Agriculture Can Transform The Indian AgriTech Scenario
But all this interest would amount to nothing if “India-centric” solutions weren’t created. While western farmers have wholeheartedly adopted chemicals and hi-tech machines into their daily practices, Indian farmers still have some way to go.
Many initiatives have fallen short of what is needed because solutions are simply copied from the west and brought to India. But that seldom proves to be effective.
On the other hand, there are startups which are tasting some success, having teams that have done their research beforehand.
Being one such startup in this rapidly evolving market of gardening and urban farming since more than 2 years now, we at Ugaoo.com, understand the needs of the Indian farmers and after a considerable amount of R&D we aim to help them in reducing their dependency on chemical fertilizers by introducing a wide range of Organic insecticides and fertilizers that are produced from farm residues like cow dung and agro-residues.
Our mission is to make gardening as an important part of every person’s routine life. People live extremely busy, stressful lifestyles with their jobs and careers and crave for relief from all the chaos. There is no better recreational activity than gardening.
We also look forward to developing a happy home gardener’s community, a determined green team who would spread awareness, knowledge and joy for our healthier future, via our regular workshops. These workshops will help not only the hobby gardeners but also the farmers, as they will get credible knowledge and learn valuable gardening techniques from the experts.
Clearly, the startup boom has found its way to the agriculture sector in India. More and more entrepreneurs are trying to solve problems by asking the farmers directly and taking inspiration from simple ideas.
Agritech: What Lies In The Future?
The agricultural sector is and will probably remain unpredictable. As such, the best outcome for the farmers in India would be if start-ups continue to ride the investment wave and solve real problems and not perceived ones.
Future agritech will focus on more sustainable methods of production, moving away from the western-influenced chemical heavy methods of today. This will happen when problems faced by small-scale farmers receive the attention that they need. It is important that time is spent with farmers before suggesting solutions.
Finally, the biggest thing to wait and see is how we can reduce the farmers’ dependence on rainfall. Irrigation facilities are still falling short of the mark, and there is a significant amount of work to be done here. The good thing is that the government has set aside INR 20,000 Cr as a part of the new irrigation fund.
With more and more people recognising that the agricultural sector needs support, it seems like the agritech industry is about to see some exciting developments.