About 58% of India’s enormous 1.3 Bn population depends on agriculture to eke out a livelihood. Yet, the sector has been left out in the cold as far as innovation and technology are concerned.
The average income of a farmer in India is estimated to be Rs 77,976 per year, and as many as 22.50% farmers live below the official poverty line, according to the Dalwai Committee report. Climate change has contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers over the past three decades.
The Modi government has targeted to double Indian farmers’ income by 2022. However, this seems like a pipe dream at the moment. In fact, the Economic Survey 2018 predicts that climate change could further lower farmers’ income by up to 25%. The Survey warned about the need for “dramatic” improvement in irrigation, use of new technologies, and better targeting of power and fertiliser subsidies.
India’s farmers and agricultural sector need a saviour. And given agriculture’s dire need for disruption, the saviour may well turn out to be a rising brigade of agritech startups, which are willing to toil in the face of hurdles such as high government control, remote location of agricultural lands, and inadequate market linkages, among others, to improve the condition of Indian agriculture.
One such startup, Agricx, is striving to bring in a reliable crop-grading system in India, with the aim of eliminating middlemen in the supply chain and enabling farmers to earn a fair price for their produce.
Ritesh Dhoot and Saurabh Kumar, who started Agricx in 2016, realised that the main reason for unfair pricing of agriculture produce was the fluctuating quality and standard of the produce, an acute problem, according to the duo.