New Delhi: Union Minister of State (IC) Ministry of Science and Technology; Dr Jitendra Singh said, Agri-tech Start-ups are critical to India’s future economy.
Addressing a Conclave-cum-Exhibition on Agri-Tech and Food-Tech in the Royal city of Mysuru, Dr Jitendra Singh said, a new wave of Agri-tech Startups has come up in India in the last few years due to enabling policy environment provided by Modi government to address the problems of Indian agriculture such as supply chain management, use of outdated equipment, improper infrastructure, and inability of farmers to access a wider range of markets with ease.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Agritech Startups are providing innovative ideas and affordable solutions to a number of challenges faced all across the agricultural value chain and it has the potential to change the face of Indian agriculture sector and eventually raise farmers’ incomes. He said, these startups and budding entrepreneurs have become the missing link between the farmers, input dealers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers connecting each of them to each other and providing strong marketing linkages and quality produce on time.
Dr Jitendra Singh strongly advocated the use of modern and new technology in Agricultural sector and pointed out that countries like Israel, China and the US have transformed several agriculture practices in their country with the use of technology. He said, these countries have demonstrated that assortment of technology like hybrid seeds, precision farming, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, geo-tagging & satellite monitoring, mobile apps and farm management software can be applied at every stage in agriculture process to increase productivity and farm incomes.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 100 Made in India agricultural drones across the country in February this year, which carried out farm operations in unique simultaneous flights. He also referred to the Budget Speech of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, wherein she said that use of ‘Kisan Drones’ will be promoted for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying of insecticides, and nutrients. The Minister added that Drones can also be used for assessing the health of any vegetation or crop, field areas inflicted by weeds, infections and pests and based on this assessment, the exact amounts of chemicals needed to fight these infestations can be applied thereby optimizing the overall cost for the farmer.
The Minister said that many agri-tech startups in India are mainly in marketplace segment where e-commerce companies provide fresh and organic fruits and vegetables procured directly from farmers, but recently many startups have come up providing innovative and sustainable solutions for farmer’s problems. He said, Startups are now providing solutions such as biogas plants, solar powered cold storage, fencing and water pumping, weather prediction, spraying machines, seed drills and vertical farming, which is bound to increase farmers income.