04 September 2023, New Delhi: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare in partnership with FICCI, CII & PHDCCI organized a National Conclave “Unleashing the Potential of AgriTech Startups for the Benefit of Farmers,” last week. Secretary Agriculture, Manoj Ahuja, Additional Secretary, Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Joint Secretary (RKVY), Ashish Kumar Srivastav and Joint Secretary (Extn.), Samuel Praveen Kumar along with other senior officers from Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and representatives of FICCI, CII and PHDCII attended the conclave.
The conclave aimed to discuss and identify comprehensive support systems for Agri Startups in India that will foster innovation, sustainability, and profitability and make their solutions accessible to farmers. The conclave also explored strategies to overcome challenges, leverage technology, and capitalize on market opportunities to empower Agri Startups and drive positive impact in the agriculture sector.
FICCI organized two breakout sessions. The theme for session 1 was “The State Government’s Vital Role in Building enabling ecosystem for AgriTech in partnership with state governments”. Session 1 brought out the challenges faced by start-ups at the state level and recommendations on how the state governments can help in building an enabling ecosystem to overcome these. The major recommendations include – creating an AgHub: An inclusive agri innovation ecosystem, Agri Data Management Framework (2023), Creating a nodal agency for start-ups within the state governments, developing a start-up portal with a repository of information, knowledge, and schemes with a chatbot facility, Start-up India can include an exclusive website with information on agriculture start-ups.
The theme for Session 2 was “Enabling Digital Public Infrastructure in AgTech: Enabling access of data to agri startups through public digital goods”. A few recommendations from the session were core data sharing by the government which the private sector can also contribute, farmer data & land records (geo-referencing & farm boundaries), building mechanism for data dissemination, and value chain approach like procurement data can be integrated to the guiding principles, participation of state government is key.
CII organized a breakout session under the theme “Empowering the Start-up Incubation Ecosystem to Translate Innovative Concepts into Practical Solutions for Farmers.” The session extensively deliberated on a synchronized and synergistic approach between start-ups and incubators, emphasizing its potential to significantly enhance positive outcomes in agricultural economics and the feasibility of establishing a direct connection with farmers during the final stages of technology implementation.
PHDCCI organized a Session on “Social Innovations to make AgriTech Solutions Accessible to Farmers”. The panelists felt that there is a need to place the farmer at the heart of innovation. Supply chain and commodity-focused innovations have not considered the farmer’s ease of adoption and ROI on tech investments. There is a need for a demand/need-led Innovation ecosystem.
Simultaneously, a technical session was also held under the theme “Policy Support for Enhancing the Startup Ecosystem” by CII. This session concentrated on the array of enabling policies that have been put in place by both the Central and State Governments to support agri startups. These policies are designed to facilitate their smooth initiation, early growth, and successful operations.
A Technical Session on “AgriTech Innovation and Role of Social Networks in Technology Adoption” was also organized by PHDCCI. The panelists felt that there were tremendous opportunities in the agriculture sector for Startups and FPOs who by innovating and having sustainable business models can transform the lives of small farmers.
An exhibition was also organized during the conclave where various start-ups showcased their innovative products and technology. On this occasion, more than 250 participants attended the conclave.
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