Indian agritech startups will create a value pool worth $30-35 Bn by 2025
2022 will be a landmark year for agritech with opportunities mushrooming across the food value chains
Agritech will be the bridge to connect India’s tech talent with the agricultural sector to drive the surge of agriculture 4.0
During the budget speech for the upcoming year, the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman underlined the importance of technology-aided agriculture to help improve the overall efficiency of agricultural operations and supply chains.
Agritech has emerged as one of the few areas that stood in the green despite the COVID pandemic raging all over the world. Consequently, there has been a heightened interest in developing agriculture technologies by supporting new enterprises through strategic investments. There has been a consistent increase in the funding raised by entrepreneurs in agritech, with new-age start-ups raising record funding rounds from leading venture capital and private equity funds globally. It is estimated that the Indian agritech startups will create a value pool worth $30-35 Bn by 2025.
With rapidly accelerating climate change, agriculture is expected to be one of the hardest-hit sectors. Investment in new-age technologies today is critical to offset the burdens that the agriculture sector will be facing as climate change worsens and the population increases. The necessity for action must also tackle resource shortages, allocation and access inequalities, and increased agricultural outputs. Policymakers worldwide are increasingly looking for long-term solutions to the dilemma by leveraging technology in agricultural operations.
This impetus by the government, the investors and the agriculture community is driving the growth of the emerging agritech sector. It is expected that 2022 will be a landmark year for agritech, particularly in India, with prospects and opportunities mushrooming across the food value chains.
Driving Innovation By Investing In R&D
Agritech companies have proven that technological solutions can circumvent the issues that hamper the agricultural sector, in both pre and post-harvest space. The game-changing technology of the 21st century,Artificial Intelligence (AI) is set to transform the way agriculture systems function globally. Combined with technologies like machine learning,
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blockchain and sophisticated data analytics, agribusinesses are looking to bring digitization, transparency, traceability and logistical management solutions to enable quality-based food trade. With the increasing penetration of smartphones and internet in the country, India’s farming community is also eyeing modern technology to provide solutions to enrich their crop yield and trade.
Prompted by this rising adoption of tech-driven solutions in the agriculture ecosystem, it was announced in the budget 2022 that the government will set-up a dedicated fund for agritech startups with blended capital, which will be facilitated through NABARD. Additionally, domestic and international investors are also looking to support R&D efforts in the promising agritech start-ups that are addressing market challenges using new-age technologies.
These combined efforts from multiple stakeholders in the ecosystem will be the key to drive innovation in the agricultural sector.
Solving Post-Harvest Agriculture Issues With Tech-Interventions
Food worth lakhs of crores is wasted annually in the post-harvest space, and this can be minimised with sustainable procurement, storage, timely quality evaluation and monitoring technologies. Moreover, lack of traceability solutions from farm to fork can restrict the export potential of agribusinesses to strictly regulated markets. Agritech organisations can solve such fundamental concerns at every supply chain node by increasing automation in agricultural operations with deep-tech solutions and significantly reducing manual errors.
A pertinent example of this is the rise of digital B2B marketplaces in the post-harvest space for agribusinesses. Digital marketplaces not only facilitate transparent and traceable transactions but also connect complex supply chains into a simplified matrix to allow trustworthy market linkages. These marketplaces will witness an increase in demand in 2022, with ecommerce models facilitating online agricultural trade becoming better integrated with existing on-ground systems. Digital marketplaces also hold the key to managing traceability issues in the food value chains to boost India’s agri-exports.
Increasing Demand For Tech Talent
With agritech establishing itself as a sunrise sector, it has garnered tremendous interest and investment from the business community worldwide. As existing companies increase their foothold in the markets and new companies emerge in the ecosystem, this will give rise to a plethora of job opportunities, across all fields. However, tech talent will be in massive demand to build and support innovative products that can provide market-specific solutions. The agritech sector will be the bridge to connect India’s remarkable tech talent with the sector to drive the surge of agriculture 4.0.
To sum up, agritech companies are revolutionizing the conventional market systems and enabling partners and clients to improve profitability and increase ROI. Deeptech solutions are increasingly being employed to accelerate innovation, sustainable development and building a fairer, safer and more transparent ecosystem. The growth spurts in the agritech sector that we will witness this year will determine the future of agriculture.