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AgriTech Innovation: Shaping the Future of Smart of Farming in India

Tanya Verma

| Updated: Aug 14, 2019 | Category: Startup

AgriTech

AgriTech is a word which is a combination of Agriculture and Technology. Now it is easier to understand AgriTech isn’t it, after breaking it up like this? AgriTech, as the name suggests, uses various technologies to increase agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture production. The major turning point for the development of different agriculture technologies is the Industrial Revolution.

What is AgriTech

Involving technology in agriculture, aquaculture and horticulture are AgriTech. The aim of combining technology with these agriculture and associated practices have the same purpose; increasing yield, profitability, and efficiency. AgriTech can be services, products or applications extracted from agriculture to improve various input and output processes.

Technologies and Applications Used in AgriTech

The various types of technologies and applications used in AgriTech are the following;

  • IoT-based sensors and photography
  • Drones
  • Satellite-based sensors and photography
  • Weather forecast
  • Use of automated irrigation systems
  • Phase tracking
  • Also using light and heat control systems in some cases
  • Using intelligent analysis software for detecting pests and also, predicting diseases, soil management, and other related tasks
  • Biotech is a different type of  AgriTech

AgriTech Inclusions

Let’s see what are the various technologies used in AgriTech or Agricultural Technologies;

  • Smart Farming: Smart Farming is also called as the third Green Revolution. It represents the approach to agricultural innovation in the whole. It adopts and combines various smart technologies.
  • Precision Farming: Precision Farming or site-specific crop management {SSCM} as the name suggests uses drones and satellites images to optimize strategies for increasing crop efficiency of a particular piece of land.
  • Robotics and Automation: Automated machinery really can help the farmers in increasing efficiency and production.
  • Vertical Farming: As you, all know Vertical Farming is the technology of growing crops on various inclined surfaces like stack layers, alternative structures like shipping containers, skyscrapers or on rooftops of buildings. The major benefits of this farming method are that it saves a lot of space and a large number of crops can be grown in a small amount of area. Also, it saves energy, water, and other input factors.
  • BioTech: BioTech or Bio-Technology is a technology which is generally used to identify better ways to battle against pests and microbes
  • Big Data & Artificial Intelligence {AI}: Big Data & Artificial Intelligence covers almost all aspects of crop management. Be it using sensor-based weather condition recording systems or monitoring soil structure for crop efficiency
  • Satellites & Drones: Using Satellites & Drones can help farmers keep an eye on their fields, generate terrain maps, quality control of tillage and sowing works, and give a large amount of Phyto-geomorphic data for better managing the farming operations.
  • Internet of Things {IoT}: IoT includes various sensor technologies and monitoring mechanisms to provide real-time data {such as weather forecast, humidity monitoring, light monitoring, etc.} to farmers for their daily decision making
AgriTech Inclusions

Top 6 AgriTech Startups in India

Below given is the list of top six AgriTech Startups in India:

  • SatSure: Founded in 2016, involved in Satellite image processing, big data capabilities and IT to agriculture services
  • Fasal: Micro-climate forecasts using AI-Based micro-climate forecasting algorithms
  • Aibono: Founded in India’s first smart farming collective
  • Gobasco: Gurgaon and Lucknow based company, provides real-time data analytics, on data streams, backed by AI-optimized automated pipelines for increasing efficiency of agriculture supply chains
  • Cropin: Founded in Bangalore, provides full-time farm management, analytics solutions, and monitoring services
  • Intello Labs: Founded in Bangalore, India’s most awarded AgriTech Startup, make use of AI and IoT to help farmers scale their businesses effectively

Also, Read: Aspire Scheme For Rural Area Entrepreneurship

Government Initiatives for the Commercialization of Indian Agriculture

The government of our country has given much emphasis on commercializing the Indian agriculture sector. Given below are some of the programs and schemes that were launched for the agriculture sector in India:

  • The Indian Government is planning to provide air cargo support for promoting agricultural exports from our country
  • Also, the government allotted Rs. 2000 crore for computerization of Primary Agriculture Credit Society{PACS} to ensure that the cooperatives are benefitted through digital technology
  • The government launched a new scheme called AGRI-UDAAN program to boost innovation and agricultural entrepreneurship
  • The government also launched the Pradhan Pradhanmantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana {PMKSY} with an investment of Rs. 50,000 crore
  • The government’s vision is to extend the urea subsidy for farmers till 2020 with an investment of Rs. 45,000 crore

Scope of AgriTech in India

According to a report by the “McKinsey Global Institute” the scope for AgriTech growth are listed below;

  • The economic impact of agronomic and numerous other technologies can be US$ 45 to 80 billion annually by 2025
  • 90 million farmers can potentially raise their incomes through smart farming
  • 200 to 250 million Indian population can get better nutrition due to an abundance of harvests
  • It could provide a decent number of job opportunities for the Indian Youth in the coming years
  • There is a high chance for growth for the Business to Farmer {B2F} companies with the increasing access to smart-phones, high-speed internet, and growing regional online content
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India is among the top six countries with the highest number of deals in agriculture technologies. In the year 2016, the Indian AgriTech Startups contributed around 9% in the global investments with the net value of 313 USD.

The graph below shows the number of Agri startups from the year 2013-2017:

AgriTech Startups

And the funding pattern for the Agri Startups from 2013-17 based on the state of a startup is as shown below;

funding pattern for the Agri Startups

Moreover, in consonance with the Government of India, the Media Today Group is holding the AgriTech India 2019: International Exhibition on Agriculture, Agri Processing Technologies, and Farm Machineries in Bangalore International Exhibition Center {BIEC}, India from 30th August-1st September 2019. The objective of the AgriTech India 2019[1] exhibition is to educate growers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, and other stakeholders of various segments of the Agriculture sector, for expanding and diversifying their business practices.  

The exhibition will be an ideal platform for business traders to display their latest technologies, products and other innovations under one roof. Also, it provides opportunities to numerous AgriTech Innovation industries to launch their products and services in front of thousands of farmers and agro entrepreneurs visiting this Expo.

Major Obstacles in Indian Agriculture

The following are the key areas of concern for Indian agricultural landscape;

  • Yields per hectare of crops in India are comparatively lower than international productions
  • Improper water management
  • Lack of systematic water resource management techniques
  • Lack of advanced farming technology
  • Lower understanding of modern farming/agricultural methods
  • Deficiency of proper marketing channels and mediums to sell agricultural products
  • Poor agricultural exports and low-quality maintenance due to lack of knowledge
  • Inadequate storage facilities resulting in wastage, etc. 

AgriTech Market Size in India

India is the world’s sixth-largest contributor to agricultural retail sales up to 65 to 70%. It was expected that by 2017-18, the food grain production to touch 277.49 million tones. The total Rabi crop cultivation area has reached 64.29 million hectares in 2018. The export of agricultural products constitutes 10% of the total exports from our country. The agricultural exports from our country reached USD 28.09 billion during the period from April 2017- January 2018 with the export of Basmati rice. 

State-wise Percentage of Agri startups in terms of numbers is shown below:

agritech

Conclusion

AgriTech industries have a high scope of growth especially in our country like our country. India has one of the most cultivated lands which can produce an enormous amount of agricultural produce if cultivated and managed properly. Indian climate and diverse geographical landscapes provide a high scope of agriculture and associated sectors.

Introducing AgriTech Innovation in Traditional agricultural practices can help farmers increase efficiency, productivity, efficiently use small spaces for growing large amounts of crop produce like in vertical farming. Also, it can decrease the wastage of water and food products due to inadequate storage systems.

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Tanya Verma

Tanya is working as writer & editor from past 2 years with experience in covering startup and technology related topics.

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