Coronavirus: Ficci suggests more virus testing, economic measures and phase-wise lockdown relaxation
Agri-startups, which are growing at 25 per cent year-on-year basis, can offer tech solutions to help Indian farm sector to keep food and farm supply chain rolling during and post lockdown phase, according to a study by industry body Ficci.
This becomes more critical amid the ongoing procurement of rabi (winter) crops and consequent sowing of kharif (summer) crops across the country in the backdrop of COVID-19 scare, it said.
There are about 450 active agri-startups in India. Many of them are already working to solve the problems at hand, it added.
According to the study, agri-tech startup companies have grown 25 per cent year-on-year. They have received venture capital funding of USD 545 million since 2014. out of this, USD 330 million came in 2019.
Highlighting agri-tech solutions, the study said agri-startups can provide aggregation and distribution of farm produce from point of collection to consumption centres.
Many startups are trying to connect farmers with buyers, including retailers, e-commerce, processors, cloud kitchens and even direct to consumers.
Startups working in this area include Ninjacart, Jumbotail, Bigbasket, ShopKirana, SuperZop, WayCool, MeraKisan, Kamatan, DeHaat, KrishiHub, Agrowave, Loop, Crofarm, FreshoKartz, Agribolo, Himkara, Kisan Network.
To provide quality assaying of agricultural commodities, startups like Intellolabs, Agricxlab, Zense, Raav Tech, Occipital, Amvicube and Nanopix are attempting to solve the problem of standardisation through mobile imagery and digitisation.
To address post harvest challenges, the study said some startups have begun work on near farm, modular and affordable storage and processing solutions.
These storage facilities are intended to give farmers an option to sell the produce at the right price and at the right time, instead of immediate or distressed liquidation of their produce after harvest.
The startups in this category include Our Foods, Agri Bazaar, Star Agri, Arya Collateral, Ecozen, Origo, it added.
For smooth operation of kharif sowing, the study said startups such as Agrostar, BigHaat, Behtar Zindagi, Unnati, Gramophone, Freshokartz, AgriBolo, DeHaat, Bharat Rohan, and Bharat Agr are offering solutions to optimise the use of agricultural inputs and enable delivery to farmers.
Agri-startups are trying to build business models to reach out to farmers directly both online as well as through offline presence in the villages. Such startups can play a pivotal role in making sure that farmers get desired inputs in a timely manner, it said.
To reduce labour cost through mechanisation, some start-up companies like Sickle innovations, Distinct Horizon, Tractor Junction, Khetibadi and J Farm service are offering mechanisation solutions for harvesting and sowing.
In addition, some of the startups have focused on accurate and timely assessment of soil moisture and developing data-driven controlled irrigation models. The startups in this category include Satyukt Analytics, Flybird, Kritsnam, Agrirain, Manna Irrigation, the study added.
That apart, some agritech startups can provide farmers advisory for crop monitoring, including institutional credit and crop insurance.
CropIn, SatSure, Farmguide, Niruthi, AgRisk, Skymet. Startups like Samunnati, FarMart, Jai-Kisan, PayAgri, Bijak are specifically working in value chain financing.
Many of these startups are using satellite images to geotag farms, assess crop health and estimate output. They are also building algorithms for farm monitoring and models for artificial intelligence to automate and improve predictably of yield and farmers' incomes, the study added.