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'Agri sector to drive social, economic transformation in India'qrcode

Sep. 6, 2019

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Sep. 6, 2019

'Agri sector to drive social, economic transformation in India'

The agriculture sector will be at the centre-stage of innovation and will lead India towards overall social and economic transformation by 2020, R Chandra Babu, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala Agricultural University, has said.

The country has witnessed a jump in agri-tech start-ups, with funding of $248 million in the first half of 2019, which is a three-fold rise compared to $73 million in 2018, he said.

Nasscom has reported the emerging positive shift in India in enterprising fields, from IT and e-commerce, to other unconventional areas such as education, health and agriculture that offer the most fundamental challenges to humanity in the form of food, life and security.

The Vice-Chancellor was speaking at Agripreneur 2019 at Kottayam, organised as a prelude to the eighth edition of TiEcon Kerala 2019.

Agri-tech start-ups are the true Make in India for the world, with more than 25 Indian agri-tech start-ups having a global presence. More than half of the estimated 450 agri-tech start-ups work to provide better access to inputs to farmers and facilitate water supply solutions. The agri-tech system in the country is maturing as an emerging business opportunity in market linkage, digitalisation of agriculture, better access to inputs, farm services and finance, he said.

Jatin Singh, Managing Director, SkyMet Weather Services, and an expert in weather forecasting and the agri-tech segment, addressed budding entrepreneurs and farmers on how Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Remote Sensing technologies and their analysis could be effectively used to manage the financial risk of smallholder farmers.

Indian agriculture and, more specifically, agriculture in Kerala, is going through a crisis, a climate crisis, because of alternate flood and drought cycles and a lot of variability. A growing population is another major concern. The scale of agriculture is shrinking with the per capita acreage of agriculture land in India going down by 3 per cent year-on-year, Singh said.

“It’s time we made agriculture more efficient, more remunerative for everyone. More mechanisation, making better use of technology and growing high-value horticultural crops will all have a positive impact on the agricultural sector. We also need to relook our sea life and large livestock potential that has been underutilised,” he added.

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