Growing at a rate of 25 pc Y-o-Y, India hosts more than 450 startups in Agritech sector: report
According to a report unveiled by NASSCOM on Monday, India currently hosts more than 450 startups in the agritech sector, growing at a rate of 25 percent year-on-year.
The report titled "Agritech in India – Emerging Trends in 2019” says that the sector has received more than $248 million in funding as of June 2019, a massive growth of 300 percent as compared to the previous year. With the recent rise in funding, 48 percent Agritech CEOs, as per the NASSCOM Agritech CEO survey, believe to have the next Agritech unicorn in the coming three years.
Sharing her thoughts, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM said,
“India's agriculture sector is advancing steadily towards digital transformation and the startup ecosystem is playing a critical role here, bringing innovation and disruption in much-needed areas. Adoption of technology in agriculture has always needed a structured institutional focus and technology firms are trying to break into the agricultural landscape using newer business models.”
With more and more local farmers accepting the innovative startup solutions, there has been a considerable shift witnessed from B2C to B2B startups. Corporates and investors are playing a vital role in supporting this with over $200 million investment in B2B startups in the past 18 months, making it as a key revenue generating segment in the overall agritech sector.
According to the report, in the last five years, more than five global agritech companies have ventured in India, as compared to more than 25 Indian agritech companies with global presence.
New emerging areas like market linkage, digital agriculture, better access to inputs, FaaS and financing are attracting large traction and enabling agritech startups to bring forth farming-related advanced technological mechanisms to help local farming become a sustainable and profit-yielding enterprise.
With public private partnerships and government support, several Indian states have established progressive agritech policies with an aim to boost the industry. However, certain measures such as setting up of catalytic or micro funds (ranging $2-14 million ) to spur innovation, offer support in terms of incubation, acceleration, and catalytic funding, opening of incubation centres, curriculum changes in agriculture universities, building of a transparent data sharing policy, and engaging with startups in larger projects, needs to be implemented by state governments to further enhance the use of futuristic technologies and support the growing agritech sector in the country, the report added.
It is estimated that by 2020, the agritech sector to be at the center-stage of innovation and will lead India's journey towards overall transformation. Therefore, to achieve this goal, the ecosystem needs to focus towards driving innovation, data collaboration, easy working capital and providing digital infrastructure to enable real time access to farmers across the country.
Recently, Netherlands-based lender Rabobank and Indian impact investor Caspian have also announced the launch of a Rabo-Caspian Agtech Financing Fund with a pilot corpus of Rs 15 crore. The fund will provide customised debt solutions to companies operating in the agritech space in India.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)