By Sameer Bhanushali, Founder & CEO, TradeBridge
India presently boasts of possessing the second-largest agricultural market at the global level. The agricultural industry is the backbone of our country’s economy. However, over the years, the sector has faced various disruptions and is also experiencing digital transformation at its prime. The tech-based start-ups are playing a pivotal role in easing out the burden on farmers by digitizing the entire ecosystem.
IBEF’s reports point out this trend and state that presently there are 450 plus start-ups in the Indian Agri-Tech Agri-
Tech space and Indian ventures are featured amongst one in nine global companies. They are leveraging the power of new-age technologies such as AI, IoT, Big Data analytics, and are engineering innovations so as to make the agricultural sector advanced and tech-savvy. With the help of these cutting-edge tech solutions, the start-up ventures are aiming to facilitate transparency and reduce operational inefficiencies. They are leaving no stone unturned to transform India’s agricultural landscape and are contributing significantly to making the Indian agricultural segment advanced and digitized.
Tech solutions paving the way for digital transformation of the agricultural sector
In the present times, as per industry estimates, approximately 60% of the country’s population depends on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. The sector contributes 14 % in the total GDP of the nation. In spite of the lack of technology and innovation, the agricultural industry has a strong presence and huge potential for growth. With the introduction and adoption of technologies, the industry will progress and prosper in the times ahead.
A recent EY report highlights a similar trend and states that India’s Agri-Tech sector possesses a vast potential to grow, and it will hit the $24.1 billion mark by 2025. It further shares that the Indian Agri-Tech sector is presently valued at $204 million and comprises 1% of the total agricultural industry. The study further points out that the Agri-Tech space will consolidate and will witness start-ups expansion that will cater holistically to the demands and needs of the farmers in the times to come.
Roadblocks faced in the path of digitization of the Indian agricultural market
However, it is indeed an undeniable fact that the industry faces various roadblocks in its growth trajectory. The viable agricultural land is decreasing whereas the population is rising. Additionally, the farmers do not have access to high-end raw materials and technology to grow high-quality crops. Dependency on middlemen along with low yield per unit crop further pose greater challenges for the sector.
In addition, the absence of unified marketplaces, lack of credit facility to small and medium players and visibility in terms of pricing and market along with supply chain inefficiencies are some of the pain points that the sector faces in the present times. Absence of adequate research, analytics, and data has also stunted the growth in the industry.
The road ahead for Agri-Tech
As per Research and Markets study, the global Agri-Tech market is expected to reach $41 Billion by 2027. The US holds the record for securing the highest number of deals in the Agri-Tech space during the year 2019 and India stands at the second position. It further states that North America is leading the Agri-Tech space and the APAC region along with Europe are the next leading revenue earning markets for the sector. While the increasing inclination of the population towards tech adoption and the growing contribution of tech solutions to upscale the market is leading to the unprecedented growth of Agri-Tech market at the global level and the same is reflected in the Indian ecosystem as well.
Summing Up: Agri-Tech platforms- A blessing in disguise
The need of the hour is to address these issues and eliminate these road bumps with the help of advanced technologies including IoT, Big data, and AI/ML. This is essential not only to have a competitive edge in the market but also to create seamless trade channels and develop a unified level playing field for all B2B buyers and vendors across India.
In such a scenario, Agri-Tech platforms like TradeBridge provide tech-enabled solutions to vendors (Farmers, Processors, and Importers) and BUYERS: (Retailers, Kiranas, HORECA, Modern Trade, Consumer Brands & Wholesalers). They help bridge major gaps in the markets at all levels and provide a space where Agro-commodities are available for buying or selling at competitive pricing. They also offer services like logistics management, quality inspections, secure payments, returns, grievance redressals, credit extension, food traceability and sustainability, and insurance coverage pertaining to all major risks in the agri-business.
Agriculture in India so far has not been part of the tech revolution, despite being an industry which provides employment to almost half the country. However, we see the next decade being dominated by Agri-Tech Unicorns, which shall bring about a tectonic shift in the Agri ecosystem.