Start-ups in India are creating disruption across categories and markets. You name an industry, there is a start-up which is adding value to the consumers and giving stiff competition to large corporates and minting revenues at larger strike rates. Flipkart in e-commerce, Ola/ Uber in transport, Zomato in foods, Bookmyshow/Ticketnew in entrainment and many more success stories. These start-ups are striking gold and their user base is large and building year-on-year. But, there is one traditional market in the country which everybody is dependent on, but still not disrupted by start-up brains to its potential. Yes, we are referring to agriculture.
In India, agriculture plays a vibrant role and the number of people dependent on the sector is extremely enormous. 142 million hectares of land is under cultivation, there are approximately 120 million farmers, 638,000 villages and almost 60% of the population is dependent on agriculture and allied sectors for their source of income. Such a huge perspective both in terms of opportunity and user base. So far, there has been no game changer who has gripped this opportunity and shown disruption in comparison to the urban start-ups.
Opportunities unoccupied in Agri sector are enormous and waiting to be disrupted:
• Only 46% of the Indian agricultural area is under irrigation. The hypothetical potential area under micro-irrigation is around 70 million to 90 million hectare and hardly 10% of this is covered by irrigation systems. With technologies like drip irrigation and smart irrigation systems having the potential to increase yield by 20 to 60%, this sector remains attractive for investment and business growth.
• As per UN reports, India wastes as much food as the whole United Kingdom munches –around 40% of the food produced is squandered every year in the country. Start-ups in the area of providing storage facility and better post-harvest care can completely change the game and solve India’s never-ending problem of food wastage and malnutrition.
• Indian farmers have the mindset of applying more fertilizers to the soil as they believe this would result in more yield. India is the second largest consumer of fertilizer in the world next to China. Start-ups in this area of introduction of site-specific nutrient management techniques can help in reducing fertilizer consumption by half and save soil from degradation.
• With outdated farming practices, limited technology intervention and rural population migrating to urban cities, Indian farms are going to face the lethal threat of the shortage of labors in future. Technological intervention in terms of deploying farm mechanization to Indian farmers through collaboration with US or Israel companies has huge headroom for growth.
• India has around 120 million farmers and the number of farmers under crop insurance scheme is meager. Offering crop insurance to farmers under public-private partnership model has enormous potential and can benefit farmers suffering from crop damage due to adverse weather events.
With the central government focusing on doubling farmer’s income by 2022, a holistic focus on this particular sector by new minds can create disruption and bring benefits to all stakeholders. Technological intervention in Indian agriculture is still at a nascent stage and is waiting to be disrupted! Let’s wait and see if any entrepreneurial mind is going to change Indian agriculture scenario in the days to come.
Image Source: coe-iot