For India’s Farmers It’s Agtech Startups, Not Government, That Is Key
Monday, January 29, 2018
The raw numbers make for daunting reading: In India, 190.7 million people go hungry everyday out of the current population of 1.3 billion. Crop yields are lower than those in the U.S., Europe and China, and the U.N. predicts there will be 1.7 billion mouths to feed by 2050.
It’s been quite a challenge in recent decade in Indian agriculture, starved of financial resources and continuing neglect by the government, and is likely to become more difficult over the next few decades as weather patterns, available water and growing seasons shift further. Climate change has contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers over the past three decades.
Against this backdrop, technology is increasingly being seen as a solution for boosting agriculture. In India, “agtech” startups are introducing artificial intelligence, computer vision and aerial imagery analytics to make farming processes more efficient and lead to better decisions for improving yield and productivity.
“China has almost 40% less water availability and a smaller average land holding than India, but their productivity is almost double than India. There’s a lot of scope to increase agricultural productivity in India by using technology in crop selection, package of practices and pest and disease management,” says Tauseef Khan, co-founder of Gramophone. The startup uses agronomic intelligence to provide farmers with information that allows them to better tailor what they do to crops to conditions on the ground.
Photo courtesy of Market Development Facility.