Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
This Ministry has launched a component called “Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development” under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY-RAFTAAR)
- Modernizing Indian agriculture will require change in key elements of the sector – supply chains and markets; production support; credit and crop insurance.
- Indian entrepreneurs are developing new technologies and business models to meet this challenge.
- In 2018, the country had nearly 500 agricultural start-ups.
- In the past five years alone, these start-ups raised nearly $130 million from investors in about 70 deals.
- However, supply chains for perishable commodities such as fruits and vegetables still remain largely fragmented in India, with smallholder farmers earning low margins.
- Unpredictable demand, price volatility and post-harvest losses compound the risks.
- Hence, they need much more investment and support to fulfil their potential.
How Agritech startups are empowering farmers?
Ninjacart, Dehaat, and Crofarm (Otipy) are a few of the many startups that are redefining the agri-food marketplace.
Ninjacart & Crofarm (Otipy): it sources fresh produce from farms and supplies to retailers, restaurants, grocery and kirana stores, and small businesses.
Dehaat: it is an online marketplace providing all the agricultural products and services to farmers.
These startups have had a demonstrated impact.
For instance, Ninjacart reduced wastage to 4% compared to up to 25% in traditional chains through demand-driven harvest schedule.
Logistics optimisation enabled delivery in less than 12 hours at one-third the cost in traditional chains.
Farmers’ net incomes are reported to have increased by 20%.
Dehaat has enabled up to 50% increase in farmers’ income as a result of savings in input costs, increased farm productivity, and better price discovery.
Agritech startups-led e-commerce platforms have the potential to steer the shift from government-controlled agricultural markets towards more demand-driven digital markets.
These startup network is able to leverage the bigger front-end players who demand bulk quality produce and have challenges in directly linking with farmers.
What are the associated challenges?
Sustainability and scalability: There are likely to be a lot of changes in Agritech startups in the future. Many ventures are falling out while others are consolidating through mergers and acquisitions. In India, the biggest challenge is to sustain and scale up the farmer outreach.
Underutilised potential: An Ernst & Young 2020 study pegs the Indian Agritech market potential at $24 billion by 2025, of which only 1% has been captured so far.
Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – Remunerative Approaches for Agricultural and Allied Sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR):
- In the year 2018, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare came up with Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana – Remunerative Approaches for Agricultural and Allied Sector Rejuvenation (RKVY RAFTAAR) scheme under the component called “Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development”. The scheme was launched for providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.
- It aims to encourage start-ups in agriculture and to contribute directly or indirectly to enhance the income of farmers by providing them with some new opportunities and providing employment to youth.
- Under the scheme, 24 RKVY-RAFTAAR Agribusiness Incubation Centres were established across India and for their handholding, five Knowledge Partners are entrusted. National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management Hyderabad, National Institute of Agricultural Marketing (NIAM) Jaipur, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) New Delhi, University of Agriculture Science Dharwad, and Assam Agriculture University at Jorhat are the five Knowledge partners and they are also the Centre of Excellence in Agribusiness Incubation.