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Analysis of Kurukshetra Magazine : Agri Startups

Introduction

  • Agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. Over 58% of the rural households depend on agriculture as their principal means of livelihood.
  • India holds the record for the second-largest agricultural land in the world, with around 60% of rural Indian households making their living from agriculture.
  • Agritech startups-led e-commerce platforms have the potential to steer the shift from government-controlled agricultural markets towards more demand-driven digital markets.

What is the scope of agri startups in India?

  • The agricultural sector in India employs half of our population and we are greatly dependent on the farmers and agricultural labourers to provide us with a means of sustenance. Yet, this is one of the riskiest sectors to be employed in because it is dependent on uncontrollable factors like weather, market fluctuations and topographical conditions.
  • So, we has to made continuous efforts to give this sector and its workers a much-needed boost. And the biggest way of doing this is through advancements in agriculture technology.
  • Modern techniques and methods will surely elevate agriculture to the next level and ease the burden on farmers.
  • This, therefore, creates a huge scope for Agriculture Startups in the country. Transformation of Agriculture to Agribusiness is one of the important strategies where enterprising farmers practice profitable agriculture.

Challenges in Agri Startups

  • The sustainability and scalability of agri ventures will be critical over time.
  • There is likely to be a lot of churning, with many ventures falling out, others consolidating through mergers and acquisitions.
  •  In India, the biggest challenge will be to sustain and scale up the farmer outreach.
  • Globally, India is competing with the US and China in the agri-startup space.
  • Inefficient Supply Chain
  • Middlemen and Agents
  • Lack of financing
  • Inadequate Irrigation
  • Farm size vs Productivity

What is “Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development program”?

  • Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development program was launched under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY-RAFTAAR) in 2018-19 with the objective to promote innovation and agri-entrepreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.  The government has appointed five Knowledge Partners (KPs) as Centre of Excellence and twenty-four RKVY-RAFTAAR Agribusiness Incubators (R-ABIs) from across the country for the implementation of this programme.
  • Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development” programme of the ministry is basically meant for promotion of agri-startups. .

What GOI is doing to promote Agri-Startups?

  • The Union Government accords very high priority to the agriculture sector. In order to contribute directly and indirectly to enhancing the income of farmers by providing opportunities to them and to provide employment to youth, start-ups are being encouraged.
  • Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development program.
  • Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has been supporting Agri-based startups under the project called National Agriculture Innovation Fund (NAIF) initiated in years 2016-2017. It has two components viz. I. Innovation Fund; II. Incubation Fund and National Coordinating Unit (NCU).
  • Under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, the innovation and agripreneurship component has been promoted.
  • Various provisions regarding startups are governed by norms laid down by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)

What is Revamped Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) ?

  • In keeping with initiatives of the Government of India to boost agriculture and allied activities and give an impetus to the rural economy, the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) which aims at strengthening infrastructure in agriculture and allied areas, has been revamped.
  • Under the revamped scheme, a component Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development programme has been launched in order to promote innovation and agripreneurship & startups by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.
  • The ministry(DAC&FW) has selected 5 Knowledge Partners (KPs) as Centres of Excellence and 24 RKVY-RAFTAAR Agribusiness Incubators (R-ABIs) from across the country after a nation-wide advertisement and a rigorous selection process.

What need to be done to encourage agri startups in the country?

  • Start-ups and Agri-entrepreneurs need to be promoted to ensure innovation and use of technology in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • We need to leverage information technology to provide information on demand to the farmers.
  • Traditional knowledge of Indian communities should be coupled with technology and skillsets of youth and agriculture graduates to translate the full potential of Indian agriculture in transforming rural areas.
  • Hackathons may be organized twice a year to solve identified problems and meet design needs for tools and equipment that can reduce drudgery in farming activity.
  • We need to make agriculture competitive, provide handholding to agriculture-based activities and adopt new technology at the earliest.
  • We need to Emphasize on increasing private investment in the field of agriculture.
  • We need to drawn attention to the need for value addition and start-ups.
  • We need to attract youth to agriculture and rejuvenate the sector.

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