During the last 4-decades, constant technological changes have led to an evolution of a separate allied technological domain. Edutech for the education sector and fintech for the financial sector are prominent examples of them. Similarly, Agritech as a feeder sector to agriculture is emerging as one which could make India exponentially richer.
Agritech has the potential to give a 300 percent return
Aspire Impact, India’s first Impact Rating & Certification initiative has released a detailed report on India’s potential; and challenges for it in Agriculture technology.
According to the report, Agritech has the potential to become the largest private-sector industry in the country. Citing various calculations, the report reveals that India can churn out revenue equal to 3 times its investment in Agritech. With an investment of 272 billion, our Agritech holds the potential to contribute 813 billion to India’s Gross Domestic Product. Moreover, it has the potential to provide livelihood opportunities to nearly 15.2 Crore people of India.
Amit Bhatia, founder of Aspire Circle and creator of Impact Future Project said that this sector is massively under-tapped and has huge growth potential. “With smart innovations, infrastructure and policy support and newer business models, the top-10 ideas researched by the IFP community can attract USD 272 billion in investments and generate USD 813 billion in revenue, impacting 1.1 billion lives,” said Amit.
India has more than 1000 Agritech startups
According to various reports available in the public domain, a total of $9 billion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been invested in Indian agriculture during the last decade. This has led to an exponential rise in Agritech. Starting with 43 Agritech startups in 2013, India can now boast of more than 1,000 such startups. Modi government’s BHARATNET project to enhance rural Internet penetration has played a key role in it.
According to a report by EconomicTimes, the total turnover of India’s Agritech sector is below 1 percent of its potential. In September 2020 it had a turnover of $204 million. ET estimates further reveal that five categories of Agritech will be dominating the market.
The tech market for supplying farm inputs is alone expected to be as big as $1billion. Precision agriculture and farm management are expected to have a turnover of $3.4 billion. Similarly, quality management and traceability are expected to contribute a total of $3 billion. All these forecasts are true for 2025.
Challenges ahead and potential
However, there are various challenges that could hinder the growth potential of Agritech.
- Currently, only 45-50 percent of India’s agriculture sector is mechanised, while in developed countries, the mechanisation percentage is as high as 90.
- India has a huge dearth of cold storage. In 2018 alone, India’s food processing industry had to incur a total loss of $14 billion. This happened because India did not have cold storages to store 3.2 million tonnes of food.
- Nearly 55 percent of our forests are exposed to fire. 70 percent of total forests have no regenerative capacity whatsoever.
Currently, around 58 percent of the Indian population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. If technologies like Blockchain, Internet of Things, Drones, and Satellites could be utilised judiciously, it could lead to a huge change in India’s agriculture domain.