India’s agriculture sector, which has defied the general financial slowdown this fiscal yr, should improve the usage of newer applied sciences equivalent to synthetic intelligence to enhance yields and farmers’ incomes, agritech entrepreneurs say.
The entrepreneurs additionally count on Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to closely deal with the agriculture sector in her upcoming Price range subsequent week as she makes an attempt to revive the fortunes of the struggling Indian economic system.
In addition they urge the federal government to extend farm credit score and restore the availability chains that broke down when India went below a lockdown in March final yr to regulate the coronavirus pandemic.
To make certain, the farm sector has been the only brilliant spot, recording a progress of 3.4 % every within the April-June and July-September quarters of 2020-21 even because the broader economic system entered a recession.
Within the final yr’s Price range, Sitharaman had allotted Rs 2.83 trillion for agriculture and associated sectors equivalent to irrigation, and set a farm credit score goal of Rs 15 trillion. She had additionally introduced 16 motion factors for farmers that have been aimed toward liberalising the farm markets.
Watch the YourStory Price range 2021 Roundtable on agritech sector expectations right here:
“The federal government had unveiled a number of programmes final yr, such because the [Krishi] Udaan scheme to enhance logistics and an agriculture infrastructure fund. We count on an identical deal with agriculture this yr,” mentioned Shashank Kumar, Co-founder of DeHaat, at a panel dialogue organised by YourStory forward of the Price range.
Kumar mentioned the Udaan scheme and farmer producer organisations not simply profit the farming sector additionally make it simpler for agritech gamers equivalent to DeHaat to attach with growers and assist clear up among the sector’s issues.
Anil Kumar SG, Founder and CEO of farm-focused lender Samunnati Monetary Intermediation & Companies Pvt. Ltd, mentioned the federal government ought to sharpen its deal with reaching the supposed beneficiaries, particularly smallholder farmers.
“A variety of schemes, merchandise and constructions typically fail as a result of the car chosen to take these to the beneficiaries will not be efficient or environment friendly,” he mentioned.
He mentioned that banks have been the standard automobiles the federal government has used to focus on farmers, nevertheless it ought to now “widen its horizon” and take a look at fintech and agritech startups and new sort of lenders equivalent to small finance banks and fee banks.
“The main focus shouldn’t be simply on making methods but additionally on execution,” he added.
The Samunnati founder additionally mentioned that, in contrast to in style notion, a whole lot of younger entrepreneurs are coming ahead to seek out revolutionary methods to sort out challenges equivalent to entry to capital and inefficiencies throughout the farm worth chain.
CM Patil, CEO of Krishi Kalpa, a non-profit that goals to attach farmers, authorities organisations and personal gamers, concurred with Kumar and added that the Price range also needs to deal with accelerators and incubators. “That may encourage extra entrepreneurs,” he mentioned.
Kunal Prasad, Co-founder and COO of agritech startup CropIn, mentioned that agriculture was the one sector that was rising within the post-Covid period and that the federal government ought to step up its efforts to make India the “meals bowl” of the world.
The federal government, he mentioned, ought to strengthen the availability chain and farm infrastructure like storage amenities, present capital to farmers to develop high-value crops, and enhance market linkages.
“In recent times, the federal government’s focus has been on bringing expertise on to farmers. It has been speaking about utilizing AI to help the PM Fasal Bima Yojana and different applied sciences equivalent to satellite tv for pc imaging,” he mentioned. “A variety of transformation will occur within the agriculture sector within the coming years.”