Agriculture has always been the backbone of India. Despite India making rapid progress in all the other sectors, agriculture remains one of the major industries. Today, multiple startups are trying to change the landscape of agriculture in India with the use of innovative business models. They are working on various technologies that not only create a viable business, but also will be able to help improve farmers’ income.
The major problems which farmers face are the lack of information on farm inputs, unorganised credit and absence of market linkages. The farm to fork food value chain is extremely long and contains multiple stakeholders which result in low value realization for farmers. The farmers have to use traditional channels to purchase resources and raw materials like seeds, fertilizers, and other agri-based products.
Since they do not have instant cash they get all the products on credit. The farmer has to sell his entire stock to the creditor after the harvest in order to settle the credit. This not only leads to the farmer getting a lower price for his stock but also leads to overall losses in the supply chain. Many firms are trying to work on this particular aspect along with the government.
There are three important things which need to be taken care of so that the farmers can maximize value of their produce:
> Right inputs & advisory:
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to increasing the productivity of farms. The problem that farmers face is the lack of enough knowledge about various resources available related to farming and the right advice on the way to use them. Today, numerous startups are providing services like mapping of soil quality using imagery technology. This technology helps farmers in understanding the quality of the soil and thus enables them to use the correct fertilizer and seeds.
Some companies are also providing services like infestation prediction, weather forecasts, water availability, auto sprinkling systems, and much other advanced technology which can help in testing the soil. Companies like Gramophone are working on the same by providing farmers advisory through their toll-free number. The government has also come up with various initiatives that can help farmers in harvesting, cultivating, and much more.
> An affordable and organized form of credit:
Farmers generally arrange credit for their farm inputs from unorganized sources. Because of higher rate of interest, they have to sell their entire stock after harvest to the creditor at a lower price. This is a major problem for farmers around the nation. To solve this out, numerous financing players are working on data insights. With the development in agri-tech space, there are many organized credit facilities that are making their way into the value chain.
The government has come up with many schemes to aid the farmers financially. Farmers are also getting trained in different methods of farming like the zero budget farming which can help them extensively.
> Right liquidation channels at right prices, post-harvest:
The post-harvest period is one period where the farmer suffers the maximum losses. First of all, the farmers do not have adequate channels to sell their crops immediately at a good price. Because of this, they have to store the stock and because of unavailability of proper facilities, the stock often gets damaged, leading to huge losses for the farmers.
Various agri-tech companies have come into play to help the farmers provide best value of their produce. They help them by assessing the quality of the yield and also in the grading procedure through FPOs. Some companies are working on remodelling the whole supply chain through efficient distribution systems. Companies are trying to reduce the number of intermediaries involved in the value chain to increase the farmer’s profit.
The dynamics of the agriculture industry is changing. Entrepreneurs are putting in effort in different fields to change the landscape. It won’t be wrong to say that the industry is prepared for disruption because of innovation. The credit for this also goes to the government which has been pushing the complete food processing sector majorly, which is the propelling factor behind the increasing demands of farmers produce in organised industry. Mega food parks are also getting sanctioned which is further strengthening the agriculture industry.