According to a report, India has the potential to become “the world’s food bowl.”
If Agri sector focuses on increasing efficiencies in the agricultural produce trade, incorporating quality standards as part of trade processes, and optimizing production costs for market demand, the country has the potential to become ‘the food bowl of the world.’
According to research published by the consultant company Arthur D Little (ADL), ‘Investments in technology-driven innovations can lead India to catch up to its World peers. The 3Is, which comprise innovation, infrastructure, and investment, must be prioritized,’
Between global enterprises and those at the local or community level in the country, there is a significant discrepancy in the adoption of digital agriculture technologies. It stated that creative business models are required to deliver viable digital solutions for small-scale farmers. Developing breakthrough Agritech business solutions would necessitate additional funding as well as the ability to connect them to the market and the consumer.
Bigger ecosystem for innovation
‘By promoting inter-firm linkages, cooperation, and networks, forming innovation clusters in regionally contiguous zones might provide a bigger ecosystem for innovation. The clusters provide a thriving environment for technology start-ups, thanks to increased economic activity and technological breakthroughs. India needs to encourage innovation clusters with goal-oriented initiatives to increase productivity, assure food security, and become a net exporter of agricultural products and intellectual property, according to the research.
To reduce waste, the government also needs large-scale investments in post-harvest infrastructures, such as near-farm warehouses and captive cold chains. Apart from that, the supply chains between farmers and consumers must be altered, and post-consumer waste must be prevented, according to the paper. Enabling digital technologies could aid supply chain stakeholders in improving traceability, reducing waste, and reducing operating delays.
Agritech market in India
Indian agriculture has progressed from being only focused on maintaining food security to becoming a major global producer. While the Covid-19 pandemic has caused disruption in numerous industries throughout the world, including India, the Agritech market recent expansion in the country underlines its huge untapped potential.
According to the paper, ‘increased rural Internet penetration and better affordability of digital technology, together with rising investor interest, have resulted in the ongoing digital transformation of the farming ecosystem.’
For around 58 percent of the country’s inhabitants, agriculture is their primary source of income. In FY21, the agricultural and allied sectors accounted for 17.8% of India’s gross value added (at current prices). While industry and services suffered as a result of the Covid-induced lockdowns, agriculture remained strong and served to keep consumer demand afloat.
Agricultural exports also increased significantly in the previous fiscal year. Agriculture and related product exports increased by 17% to $41.25 billion in 2020-2021, after remaining flat for the previous three years, according to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. With new enterprises joining the market and turning problems into opportunities, the trend is projected to continue in the coming years.
Issues for expansion of Agritech in India
‘However, Indian agriculture has long faced a number of problems, and overcoming them is critical to the expansion of Agritech as well as general development and rural wealth. Low farm production, fragmented land ownership, a lack of storage infrastructure, and high indebtedness are only a few of the issues that contribute to agrarian distress. The fragmentation of holdings, which leads to low economies of scale, limited access to technology, high marketing costs, and low productivity, since over 80% of Indian farmers farm less than five hectares of land individually, according to the report.
In recent years, technological advancements have re-engineered the value chain to address both demand and supply-side concerns in the agricultural sector.
Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, big data, and blockchain are projected to revolutionize the industry by providing increased production, superior quality, traceability, and real-time visibility while lowering carbon emissions and improving revenues.
According to the report, a greater emphasis on cost, quality, and dependability would be major drivers of the growing use of precision agricultural technologies and automation.