In this article, we will discuss Agri-Startups in India. So, let’s get started.
Role of Agri-Startups in Agriculture
- Increasing Income: The state of small and marginal farmers in India has been dismal, struggling with low incomes, mounting debts and dependency on mono-crop culture, informal lenders and fluctuating output prices.
- Farmers who seek to venture into aquaculture or animal husbandry don’t have appropriate investments, marketing channels and knowledge.
- With the advent of AgriTech startups and digital tools, many Indian farmers are supplementing their income with farm diversification.
- Farm Diversification: The AgriTech Startups are empowering farmers to integrate livestock rearing and aquaculture into their existing operations with micro-farm installation requiring minimum space and labour.
- Non-crop diversification is helping farmers increase and earn round-the-year income, improve productivity and profitability and adopt sustainable farming systems.
- Awareness Creation: AgriTech startups with the ever-increasing internet are increasing awareness among the farming communities and connecting them to a network of traders, retailers and exporters willing to buy their produce at higher prices.
- Technological Advances: Technological advances in supply chain platforms have also resulted in the supply of high-quality live input materials to farmers engaged in livestock rearing and aquaculture.
- Reforms in Lending Culture: With the emergence of Fintech and AgriTech startups, the lending landscape of the country is changing.
- Previously underserved small and marginal farmers can now secure loans from formal institutions at low-interest rates.
- A plethora of easy financing options and government initiatives have alleviated the burden of interest on farmers.
Initiatives for Agri-Startups
- In 2020, the Reserve Bank of India directed banks to treat loans up to ₹50 crore to agri-startups under priority sector lending.
- In the Budget 2022, the Finance Minister of India also announced a fund for agri-startups and rural enterprises. The exclusive fund will be launched through NABARD in order to give a fillip to the farm produce value chain.
- The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has called for applications from agritech start-ups under the NIDHI-Seed Support Scheme (NIDHI-SSS).
- The selected start-ups will receive funding up to ₹50 lakh. The seed fund will enable them to accelerate their commercialisation activities.