Can Agri Startup Fund Help To Increase Crop Productivity and Market Linkages?
Can Agri Startup Fund Help To Increase Crop Productivity & Market Linkages?
Around 2,000 agri-startups are anticipated to be working in the nation now, offering technical assistance for raising agricultural productivity and connecting farmers with markets. Agricultural firms will benefit from the Agriculture Accelerator Fund that was proposed by Nirmala Sitharaman. It will make an effort to introduce cutting-edge technologies and increase output to apply cost-effective solutions to issues faced by farmers.
Bexley Advisors, a boutique investment bank, quoted Utkarsh Sinha as saying, “The government’s Fund-of-Fund (FoF) model has already proven successful with SIDBI’s flagship fund and SRI. It will provide favourable effects and hasten the creation of funds and businesses with an agricultural concentration if this concept is expanded into other industries like agriculture (and hopefully manufacturing).
“Private equity for agriculture sector investment in India is a two-part equation; while we need smaller funds to help breakthrough technologies like hydroponics, vertical farming, etc. get started, we also need funds that can write big cheques to help some of these technologies reach scale. Agriculture lacks growth and early-stage equity funding; this FoF could help fill that void, according to Utkarsh Sinha.
Technology and Agri-tech startups
Through the use of technological inputs like artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), blockchain technologies, and drones, the Agriculture Accelerator Fund, which was announced in the Union Budget, will assist startups in increasing the efficiency of crop production for small-holder farmers.
The Agriculture Accelerator Fund is a fantastic attempt to the mainstream rural economy and scale innovation from India’s hinterlands, according to Kanishk Maheshwari, co-founder of Primus Partners. The implementation experiences of the numerous startup funds that the government previously formed should be studied.”
The announcement for integrating technology into agriculture is essential for long-term economic growth, increased production, and job creation, according to Nilaya Varma, Co-Founder and CEO of Primus Partners. India and Bharat will grow together as a result. The budget goal is a good idea. The success of this plan depends on its implementation, thus we must secure collaborations between farmers, FPOs, SHGs, agritech startups, and—most importantly—agricultural research institutions and universities.”
The capital investment outlay increase by 33%, offers the industry the proper nudge, and indicates the government’s strong desire to encourage private investments in the country’s infrastructure development narrative,” said Adarsh Sharma, Managing Director of Primus Partners.
Based on the most recent statement of Prasanna Rao, co-founder and CEO of the business Arya Collateral Warehousing Services, the proposed fund will help foster locally rooted entrepreneurship and improve crop production efficiency. More companies will be present in rural regions, and hopefully, they will have access to enough funding to establish productive market links for farmers as stated by Rao.
Around 2,000 agri-startups are anticipated to be working in the nation right now, offering technical assistance for raising agricultural productivity and connecting farmers with markets. A representative of the agriculture ministry acknowledged the difficulties in reaching all 140 million farmers, 67% of whom have average holding sizes of less than one hectare, with technology solutions.
Deepak Bhardwaj, director and co-founder of IoTechworld Aviation, a business that makes and sells drones that are specifically used for farming, said that the proposed fund will aid several startups in assuring the adoption of technologies to lower input costs and boost crop yield. The team will work closely with businesses like Syngenta India, Dhanuka Agritech, and others to use drones to uniformly apply fertilisers and fungicides across agricultural areas.
Farmers and other stakeholders in the supply chain will now have access to cutting-edge technology created by agritech startups, according to Mayank Tiwari, founder and CEO of ReshaMandi. This startup offers a farm-to-fashion digital ecosystem for natural fibre. This will give farmers and other stakeholders in the supply chain a much-needed boost in productivity, as well as improve efficiency and reduce crop failure.
In her budget statement, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asserted that the fund would support young entrepreneurs’ agri-startups in rural areas. The fund’s techniques and methods and financial distributions have already been developed. The budget strongly emphasises the supply and input side of the agricultural value chain, which will benefit the developing agri-tech sector. Agrijunction, a web marketplace that sells agricultural goods, machinery, and equipment, was founded and is run by Raj Yadav.
Expansion of Agri-tech startups
Additionally, Sitharaman announced the development of a digital public infrastructure for agriculture that would facilitate inclusive, farmer-centric solutions through pertinent information services for crop planning and health, improved access to farm inputs, credit, and insurance, assistance for crop estimation, market intelligence, and support for the expansion of the agri-tech sector and startups.
According to D Narain, president of Bayer South Asia, “the initiatives mentioned in the budget would speed technology adoption in the agriculture sector and support farmers in accessing markets.”
“This is a fantastic and welcome gesture from the government, which will cultivate, support, and enable entrepreneurship in the agro sector, said Dhruv Sawhney, COO and Business Head at nurture.farm. It will result in the creation of new business models and innovations that will encourage the use of digital technology and bring farmers in India technological help and advancement.
Director of Nexdigm, Sanjay Chhabria, announced plans to establish an agri-startup acceleration fund to support the efforts of coming agricultural entrepreneurs. There would be a 20 lakh crore rise in the agricultural credit target. Initiatives to encourage new business ventures, ideas, and jobs to fuel continued expansion of the agriculture sector.
Anirudh A. Damani, the managing partner of Artha Venture Fund, said: “It’s great to learn that the government plans to establish an Agriculture Accelerator Fund. I’m interested in learning more about the fund’s proposed operating structure. Such a fund can offer an encouraging atmosphere that can aid AgriTech businesses in growing more quickly by giving them access to resources, exposure, and success prospects.
The government may provide these firms with further support through this approach, including infrastructure subsidies, mentorship programmes, seed money, and reliable market access. The entire endeavour will support the government’s ongoing initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship in rural areas. In terms of AgriTech, Artha is lacking. This project will help us feel more inclined to support additional AgriTech entrepreneurs with our funding.
Edited by Prakriti Arora