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How new-age agritech platforms are embracing marginal and small farmers?

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According to the United Nations, India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2027. As the population increases, the demand for food and other essentials is also expected to increase. Consequently, agricultural markets will have to change in ways we have not seen before. Despite the shortage of land and water resources, the sector will have to focus on increasing efficiency and productivity. 

A Deloitte study says technology will be the key enabler to meeting the demand for food and ensuring affordability. And technology’s impact is visible with the growing adoption of smart and sustainable farming practices. These practices are designed to preserve natural resources while meeting the demands of a growing population. 

Smart farming relies on technology to improve the efficiency of agricultural production. It uses data analytics and sensors to optimise crop monitoring, irrigation, and fertilisation. Moreover, it uses robots and drones for weed control and crop mapping tasks. When it comes to sustainable farming, the practices are environmentally responsible. They aim to minimise the effect of agriculture on ecosystems. Farmers use sustainable materials and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, promote biodiversity, and minimise soil erosion and water pollution. Together, the innovations of smart and sustainable farming have the potential to transform agriculture into a more efficient and sustainable industry. 

How are organisations revamping traditional farming by combining technology with agriculture?

The inception of agriculture was a major turning point in the cultural and environmental history of human beings. While the first animals were domesticated around 10,000 years ago, technological applications have caused disruptions in the Indian farming sector in the last two decades. Organisations have combined cutting-edge technology to revamp traditional farming practices, leading to a more productive, sustainable, and efficient form of agriculture that can fulfil the needs of the growing population. 

An example showcasing the use of technology for improving agriculture is in the field of precision irrigation. Sensors and software allow farmers to track soil moisture levels, plant growth, and weather patterns. As a result, crops receive the amount of water right for their growth – not less, not excess. The technology-based practice reduces wastage and improves yield by not letting plants suffer due to drought or too much water.

Another area where technology is making a difference is the supply chain of fresh produce. Agritech platforms connect producers of food directly with service providers, restaurants, and retailers. They help in solving one of the toughest supply chain problems in the world. As a result, farmers earn more revenue and receive payments faster, retailers enjoy convenient and competitive pricing, and consumers enjoy savings and better quality of produce. 

What are the pain points that new-age agritech firms are solving?

New-age agritech firms have brought about improved connectivity, efficiencies, knowledge sharing, and various pivotal and supporting activities at the click of a button. The penetration of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in the sector is disruptive, whether it is automated irrigation and harvesting, AI-enabled planting and weeding, weather predictors, drones, or automated machinery. 

The specific pain points new-age agritech firms are solving for the farmers and the agricultural industry include:

Limited access to technology for efficient cropping

While the internet has penetrated tier-2 and tier-3 cities, a majority of farmers still do not have access to the latest technology. Many new-age agritech firms are focusing on this concern, providing innovative solutions like nanotechnology, biotechnology, modern irrigation methods, and high-tech protected cultivation techniques to accelerate agricultural production.

Lack of access to financial solutions

Farmers do not have sufficient income or easy access to credit and marketplaces. Agritech firms have identified this challenge and made it easier for farmers to apply for and get loans. Moreover, the platforms make account management and monitoring of financial transactions convenient. 

Inefficient post-harvest supply chain

Poor supply chain systems have posed challenges for farmers for ages. New-age agritech firms and bridging the gap between the farmers and the retailers and service providers. As the loopholes in transportation and supply chain fill out, farmers enjoy the benefits of one-stop for sale, quicker payments, and transparent weighing. 

Solution for farm inputs

Many agritech firms make purchasing farm inputs flexible through online apps and marketplaces. Farmers can purchase raw materials and sell fresh produce directly to food processing companies without a middleman. 

Benefits of farmers from technological improvements

The various developments introduced by tech-enabled agricultural firms help digitise agriculture, bring transparency across the value chain, provide fresh produce directly to consumers, improve access to real-time information for farmers, and offer financial support through micro-financing options. 

The modern-day farmer is reliant on technology, from GPS-guided tractors to precision irrigation systems. Such technological improvements have helped farmers produce more food with fewer resources. Moreover, they have allowed farmers to reduce their environmental impact. 

Conclusion

In recent years, the agriculture sector had to battle many struggles because of droughts, fluctuating crop prices, government policies, and other concerns. However, the industry is now utilising cutting-edge technology to reduce costs, improve quality, and increase yields. Furthermore, agritech firms are focusing on new ways to package and transport fresh produce to reduce wastage and improve shelf life. The impact of these innovations on the industry is positive, and there are chances of greater progress in the future. The growing agritech businesses can save the country’s struggling farmers with smart techniques benefitting retailers, exporters, food processing companies, restaurants, and other service providers.