How Startups Are Transforming Agriculture

Agriculture sector growing at more than 7 per cent,  is the soul of world’s economy . It contributes 17 per cent to the GDP. Why tech savy entrepreneurs of the country didn’t tap this sector? Numerous startups already working towards the upliftment of the sector and have formulated some innovative ideas to help Indian farmers grow and earn well.

Here is a list of a few innovative startups pertaining to the agriculture sector.

Connecting companies, distributors, retailers, and farmers

This agriculture-specific online discovery platform was founded in 2016 with the focus to benefit consumers, merchants and the economy as a whole. TheAgrihub provides authentic product information about brands in conventional and hi-tech agriculture. The company stimulates the development of an open, collaborative and prosperous agriculture eCommerce ecosystem and to empower information for Indian farmers and agribusiness professionals. The platform connects, companies, distributor’s retailers to cater to the needs of farmers in India.

“Discover it on TheAgrihub! Is what we as a team wish to promote,” said Rajeeb Kumar Roy, Founder and CEO,

A ‘Direct-to-farmer’ m-commerce platform

With the increase in smartphone penetration in remote parts of the world, the days not far away when farmers can easily access their farm equipments or the raw materials on their mobile phone. Having this in mind these young entrepreneurs have come up with an innovative startup, called AgroStar where they are transforming agri-business for farmers. They have built a “direct to farmer” m-commerce platform.

 

Going digital to improve rural livelihoods

Rikin Gandhi, founder of Digital Green has developed a project to educate farmers in the form of simple videos starring local farmers themselves.

“My passion for sustainable agriculture and use of technology for socio-economic development prompted me to stay in India as part of Microsoft Research team. What encouraged me was the potential for knowledge sharing among small-scale farmers and its impact in terms of increased productivity and well-being of the community,” said Rikin Gandhi, Founder, Digital Green.

The corporate and startups are working on farm to market products. The introduction of agriculture market platform by the government is also a landmark decision.

 

H. Sadananda grows 30 varieties of crop and even breeds dogs

BANGALORE: At a time when there is a strong perception that farming is not a profitable venture, this farmer from Tapasihalli in Doddaballapur taluk has created waves by earning a profit of about Rs. 22 lakh a year from merely 2.1 acres of land.

It is his innovative drive and constant experimentation with multi-cropping methods that have helped 51-year-old H. Sadananda to reap a rich harvest.

He cultivates nearly 30 varieties of crop on his land, including tomato and areca on half an acre each which yield him Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 50,000 respectively.

Ginger is cultivated along with areca in the plantation, and it yields him about Rs. 70,000 a year. Mr. Sadananda has also made space in his areca plantation for rearing 250 Giriraja hens which he sells every three months to earn about Rs. 1 lakh a year. The poultry droppings are valuable manure for the areca plantation while agricultural waste is used as feed for the birds.

He has planted about 2,000 rose cuttings on three-fourth of an acre, which fetches him about Rs. 4 lakh a year, and has set up a greenhouse on one-fourth of an acre for cultivating capsicum and high-quality rose alternatively. Capsicum, cultivated for about six months, yields him about Rs. 5.4 lakh while the rose variety that replaces capsicum for the next six months gets him about Rs. 2.5 lakh a year. A small vegetable garden, a fish-rearing pond, coconut and jackfruit trees on the periphery of his land, in addition to coffee plants, papaya, sapota and lime trees also find a place. His cows produce 80 to 100 litres of milk a day.

Manure

Manure comes from vermicompost and the slurry from a gobar gas plant. A tiny pond is filled with azolla plants which is a good cow feed.

Mr. Sadananda, who depends on borewell for irrigation, has installed drip irrigation system for the entire land at a cost of Rs. 50,000 (excluding subsidy). “Drip irrigation allows me to irrigate my entire land even with four hours of three-phase power,” he says. Besides, it prevents weeds and also saves him about Rs. 400 a day in labour costs.

Interestingly, he also breeds Rottweiler and Great Dane breeds of dogs to earn Rs. 1.2 lakh a year.

He has been honoured with prestigious awards by the Union Ministry of Agriculture. Several agricultural scientists, farmers and VIPs from India and abroad visit his farm.

Innovative ideas

Mr. Sadananda says that his farm income increased after he adopted innovative ideas provided by the Department of Biotechnology’s Bio-Resource Complex project taken up in his village. He can be contacted on 9342022146.