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Bengaluru: Participating in a panel discussion on ‘AgriTech: How Start-ups can change the face of Indian Agriculture’ at the ‘Bengaluru Tech Summit 2021, on the last day of the Summit, panelist lauded Indian startups in their efforts to find solutions for increasing yields, process foods and weather forecast, farm to fork platforms, etc.

Highlighting the point that 70% of Indian households are still dependent on farming based a report findings, some of the panelists highlighted that 82% of farmers are small and marginal and contributing only 17–18% to the country’s GDP

Speaking at the discussion, 1BRIDGE Founder & CEO Madan Padaki said the country has witnessed some intense activity on the agri-tech startup front that are driving a change in the socio-economic fabric.

“It is a reality that nowadays investors scout the soft components of the startups targeting grassroots innovations for de-risking farmers, while also improving sustainability in agriculture and technology,” Said 1BRIDGE Founder & CEO Madan Padaki.

CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd Cofounder & Chief Operating Officer Kunal Prasad emphasised on tech as the enabler of added yields.

“Unless the per hectare value is increased at the farm level, the distribution across the ecosystem in reaching out to the customers will not happen,” CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd Cofounder & Chief Operating Officer.

From sowing to harvesting, thousands of agri-techs are creating a niche by helping 120 million Indians farmers access the finance that they need, and supporting them in getting good quality seeds, warehousing, and linkage to markets.

“On the other hand, startups have developed mobile applications, IVRS services, online portals, and produced satellite and remote sensing analysis, for instance, the PM Fasal Bima Yojana tries to find the yield correlation using satellite data and help the settlement of insurances as soon as possible,” CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd Cofounder & Chief Operating Officer Kunal Prasad .

Kunal highlighted that presently, the pace of connecting digital intervention at the rural level is low, hence efficient methods are necessary for bringing data-driven agriculture to a collaborative level. This would prove to be transformational through the synergy of delivery systems and also help tackle problems arising from climate change.

C4D Partners Cofounder and CEO Arvind Agarwal says the need of the hour is for an agripreneur understanding the problem and resolving them with the help of technology, without disrupting effective traditional channels.

“With respect to investments, the focus is less on precision farming and farm management and more on the supply chain and logistics support. North-Eastern India as well, being an agri-economy receives minimal investments from startups, pointing towards the avenue for upcoming ones,” says C4D Partners Cofounder and CEO Arvind Agarwal.

Ashok Kumar Meda, Co-Founder & Director, Krishikalpa Foundation, stressed the holistic approach to Agri value chain tech experiments of Africa that can inspire agrotech for exploration of the Indian scenario.

Along with financial availability, technology for productivity enhancement is crucial, achievable through the aggregation of digitization literacy, skill development, and infrastructure for mechanization, he opined.

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