Startups changing the scene of Agriculture sector in India?


Agriculture in India is undergoing a revolutionary change in recent years. The boom of Startups is not only in technology or in services to make life easier in cities but it is spreading to Agriculture to change the scene of cultivation and lives in villages. With the Startup India initiative from Government of India and also with individuals are taking up the initiative to have Startups in Agriculture sector to thereby using the best of technology available at current times with the cultivation methods being used for Agriculture.

With 157.35 Mn hectares of agricultural land, there are about 250 odd agritech start-ups working to supporting 118.9 cultivating population. Using technology to improvise the farming process these startups are revolutionizing the agriculture industry in India.

Two Startups in Agriculture sector, Noida based EM3 Agri Services and Crofarm has raised money in Series B and Series A funding from investors.

The farm mechanization services company EM3 Agri has secure $ 10 Mn Series B funding from UK based Global Innovation Fund (GIF) with existing investor, Aspada Investments. The plans are to utilize the investment to expand startup’s geographical reach, build new technologies and to boost ecosystem capacity. The services are provided from the time of land development, land preparation, seeding, sowing, planting, crop care, harvesting and post-harvest field management with respect to pay per use farm services. The services can be utilized with the help of a mobile app too.

Gurugram based agritech start-up Crofarm has secured $783K from a consortium of investors. Crofarm uses F2B (Farm-to-Business) venture which is serving more than 10,000 farmers from Delhi-NCR, Haryana, and UP. Crofarm uses the combination of logistics and technology platform to reduce the post-harvest losses. Farmers using this platform reportedly earn 25% more than what they would if they sold in local markets. Crofarm is generating revenue through commission starting from 5% varying with respect to the goods.

The Agriculture Industry in India has a great potential to grow to a multi-billion dollar industry. From decades though the progress was found in all sectors, Agriculture had taken a backseat. Now with these initiatives, it certainly is looking bright as the links are connected from farm to business with these start-ups. The Government of Karnataka has announced the launch of $1.5 Mn fund for facilitating the growth of agritech start-ups in May 2017. This fund is going to be administered by information technology and biotechnology department.

With 58% of the rural population relying on agriculture for its sustenance, India stands second in the globe in terms of farm output.  As per the recent surveys, the size of agriculture and allied activities in the country underwent a near-100% growth between FY14 and FY15. Agricultural exports increased from $24.7 Bn in 2011-12 to $32.08 Bn in 2015-16; a CAGR growth of more than 6.75%.

According to an IBEF report, in FY17, agriculture accounted for over $1,640 Bn (INR 1.11 Tn) of the country’s GDP. To further bolster the country’s agricultural production, the government has launched an array of schemes to facilitate the market’s growth.

Finally, it looks like the gap between the cities and villages are going to be bridged with these initiatives, there by leading to better facilities and may result in a decrease in migration of people in search of jobs to metros.

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