New Delhi, November 30

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urat-based GROWiT India manufactures advanced and innovative products that ensure optimum quality and yield for the Indian Agricultural and Farming Industry while lowering its carbon footprint. This start-up is India's first Direct to Farm protective farming Agritech company manufacturing plastic mulch film, shade nets, crop/fruit covers, Vermi beds, mulch laying/hole punching machines and Agri wires.

The company ensures sustainable, efficient and cost-effective agricultural practices.Saurabh Agarwal, the CEO of GROWiT India says that the potential of the sector is almost 50,000 (6.08 billion) of business in this particular sector. "Today the industry is only about 1000 crores (121 million). It's a huge potential in the industry, many people can come in the industry, the more people that come in, the more knowledge farmers will have. It will be better for the industry to have some competition and some good young companies coming in and promote this technology further", says Agarwal. Agricultural startups are being established all over India by capable youth of the country.

And India is no longer a land of uneducated farmers. The revolution of the agricultural sector has resulted in several well-established and educated young entrepreneurs turning to farmlands, initiating more than 1300 agri startups.Amit Sinha, the co-Founder of Unnati Agri says there is a lot of scope of building up India first solutions exists in Indian agricultural field. "That is where a lot of startups including us have been working together and trying to solve the problems of agriculture through the latest in technology and financial services that we could bring to the table," she notes. Several modernizations have resulted in the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) into the agricultural sector and the establishment of government and private platforms for supporting and creating a conducive ecosystem for the sale of agricultural produce.

The use of AI, IoT, Big Data Analytics, drones for farm mapping, ICT applications, technology for weather forecasting, amongst numerous other technological applications prove to show the potential Indian Agritech startups have in transforming the country's agriculture industry.

Ezhil Subbian, the CEO of Bangalore based String Bio says, "We have a lot of MSC graduates working for us who come from a farming background. So their parents used to be traditional farmers now they have been trained Agronomers who are very keen to bring advanced farm management practices to their own farms. "I think it's a very positive trend and I would hope to see more of this in coming years", says the young entrepreneur. Agricultural based startups have aimed to ensure that scientific and cutting-edge technology reaches and utilizes the entire capable soil of India, east to west, north to south. There is expected to be a new green revolution in India, which currently possesses the capability of producing sufficient food for 18 per cent of the world's population by using just 12 per cent of the world's land resources and a mere 4 per cent of the global water resources.India's farmers have been well utilising the country's 20 Agri-climatic regions, 15 major climates and all 46 types of soils found in India. Advancements, investments, and government support have empowered the farmers and the entire farming sector.To give a boost to the farming sector, the government announced budgetary allocations of over 15 billion USD for 2023-24 to the agriculture and allied sector, including nine thousand crores, allocated specifically for farmer education.

This year, the budgetary allocations of over 15 billion USD for 2023-24 to the agriculture and allied sector, included nine thousand crores, allocated specifically for farmer education.

In Budget 2023, 'Agriculture Accelerator Fund' was introduced to encourage Agri start-ups founded by young entrepreneurs in rural areas and the agricultural credit target was also increased to Rs 20 lakh crore with a focus on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries (Budget 2023).

There are numerous startups emerging in the agriculture sector despite all the challenges faced by the sector. These startups are not only bringing in new and innovative solutions to solve some of the core challenges but are also providing employment opportunities and improving livelihoods of stakeholders associated with the sector.In September 2021, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare also signed five MoUs with CISCO, Ninjacart, Jio Platforms Limited, ITC Limited and NCDEX e-markets Limited. These MoUs will have five pilot projects, to help farmers maximize crop yield to establish India's agricultural might on a global level.Over time, multiple governmental efforts in the agriculture field have made India the world leader in the production of spices, pulses, milk, tea, cashew, and jute, and the second largest producer of wheat, rice, fruits and vegetables, sugarcane, cotton, and oilseeds.

As per India Brand Equity Foundation, India's agricultural industry is expected to grow to 24 billion USD by 2025. Not limiting efforts to focused investments, the need to modernise and revolutionise India's agricultural sector has also been addressed by the government. Budgetary allocations were made for schemes such as the Digital Public Infrastructure for Agriculture, the Atmanirbhar Clean Plant Program, the digitalization of 63,000 agricultural credit societies and the development of modern storage facilities in India.During the budget, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that digital Public Infrastructure for Agriculture will be built as an open source, open standard and interoperable public good that will enable inclusive farmer centric solutions.Rapid modernisation, targeted investments, government support, and the entrance of talented youth into India's agricultural sector will have a compounding effect and will ensure a bright future for yet another facet of Brand India.With the increasing adoption of digital technologies and the rise of startups, the sector is poised for rapid growth in the coming years. Agritech startups are developing innovative solutions for various aspects of agriculture, including precision farming, supply chain management, and market linkages. These technologies can help improve productivity, reduce costs, and increase the income of farmers.

As the sector continues to grow, it has the potential to not only transform India's agriculture sector but also create new employment opportunities and contribute towards the growth of the country's economy. As we move forward, it is important for agriculture startups to stay focused on their mission of self-reliance and sustainability, building on the successes of the past. The vision of a self-reliant India is deeply embedded in the startup ecosystem and will remain a guiding force for the years to come.

Start-ups foraying to bring another revolution in India's agriculture sector

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