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The Dialogue | How Agritech Startups Are Redefining India’s Rural Economy

While technology has undoubtedly revamped healthcare, financial services and digitisation for SMBs, arguably its biggest impact will be seen in agriculture and farming. Not only is the agriculture sector responsible for providing livelihood to almost 500 Mn people in India — directly or indirectly — but its GDP contribution in FY20 was $276.37 Bn — or just over 10% of the GDP. In 2019, 42.39% of the workforce in India was employed in agriculture

Today, India is home to 1,000+ agritech startups and it is among the 15 leading exporters of agricultural products in the world. An analysis by Inc42 Plus, revealed that last year the startups from the agritech sector scored total funding of $244.59 Mn, an increase of over 350% compared to 2018. 

The introduction of high-tech solutions and modern tech services and products have boosted the traditional agriculture value chain. And the primary effort is to boost the farmer income at every step of the way, while also eliminating inefficiencies from the supply chain. 

According to a recent EY report, the adoption of agritech presents a market potential of $24 Bn by 2025. While the pandemic affected the sector immensely, the INR 1.63 Cr package announced by the government as relief might just ease the pain to a certain extent. But what are the bigger challenges in agritech and the agricultural value chain that startups are tackling and which areas have seen the biggest impact? 

To unravel and decode the opportunities for startups as well as the challenges, trends and more, Inc42 in association with tech giant Microsoft launched The Dialogue’, focussing on agritech along with other sectors.

The third episode from this four-part series, ‘Agritech For India’s Next Billion: How Startups Are Redefining India’s Rural Economy’, brought together a panel of experts and stakeholders from the agritech startup ecosystem, discussing the agritech potential in India and the best ways to reach the underserved audience.

The Dialogue: Agritech For India’s Next Billion

Moderated by the cofounder and CEO of Inc42, Vaibhav Vardhan, the discussion is joined by Hemendra Mathur, venture partner at Bharat Innovation Fund; Sateesh Nukala, CEO and cofounder of BigHaat India; Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO of CropIn Technology; and Sangeeta Bavi, director, startup ecosystem at Microsoft India.

In this session, we have talked about:

  • Dissecting the $1.7 Bn+ investments in agritech startups 
  • How has the funding landscape evolved in agritech?
  • The role of policy, the government in enabling the agritech ecosystem
  • How can agritech startups  leverage existing networks and corporates to amplify impact
  • The challenges and opportunities at various levels in the agricultural supply chain
  • How can agritech streamline the supply chain and fix efficiency?
  • Emerging business models in the all-important agritech space