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Indian Agri-Tech

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Agriculture: transport and marketing of agricultural produce

 

Context: FSG, a global consulting firm, has launched the Agritech Report 2022, “What’s next for Indian agri-tech

 

Agricultural technology, or agri-tech, is the use of technology in agriculture based on agricultural science, agronomy, and agricultural engineering.

  • It aims to improve yield, efficiency, profitability, and sustainability of agricultural operations.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Agri-tech startups are driving India’s agri-tech innovations and investment story with significant private equity inflows.
  • Areas of focus: Market linkages, agri-fintech, farm management software, remote sensing and advisory, and farm automation.
  • Technology has irreversibly disrupted the traditional agricultural value chain – from how farmers access information and inputs to how they grow and sell their produce.

As per Agricultural experts, Ashok Gulati: Agritech startups can steer the shift from government-controlled agricultural markets towards more demand-driven digital markets.

Currently, it is estimated that there are about 600 to 700 agri-tech startups in India operating at different levels of agri-value chains.

  • Many of them use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT), etc, to unlock the potential of big data for greater resource use efficiency, transparency and inclusiveness.
  • g. Ninjacart, Dehaat, and Crofarm (Otipy)

Impact of Agri-tech startups:

  • Ninjacart reduced wastage to 4 per cent compared to up to 25 per cent in traditional chains through a demand-driven harvest schedule.
  • Dehaat has enabled up to 50 per cent increase in farmers’ income as a result of savings in input costs, increased farm productivity, and better price discovery.

Role of technology in agrarian changes:

Other examples of the use of technology in agriculture:

  • Seed quality enhancing
    • High-yielding varieties and genetically engineered seeds (BT Cotton) lead to efficient use of pesticides, water, etc and can increase yields.
  • Efficiency in farm inputs:
    • Water: drip irrigation technology, use of sensors for moisture control, sprinklers for irrigation.
    • Fertilizers and pesticides: fertilizer sensors, drones for spraying pesticides
    • Efficient input data: Kisan suvidha portal, M-Kisan
    • Electricity: Solar-powered water pumps.
    • Labour: Mechanization of harvest led to improved labour productivity.

 

  • Harvest management:
    • PUSA Biodecomposer- for dealing with stubble/crop residue
    • Agricultural waste is used as input for bioethical production.

 

Insta Links

E-Technology in aid of farmers

Mains Link

Q. Discuss the role of technology in agrarian change in India. (10M)

Prelims Link

With respect to Agriculture in India, which of the following statements is incorrect

 

a) Agriculture Infrastructure Fund offers long-term financial assistance for building infrastructure for the post-harvest stage.

b) India is the top producer of milk, spices, tea, jute, and rice.

c) The objective of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.

d)Agriculture’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has reduced to less than 20 per cent.

 

Answer: B

The share of agriculture in GDP increased to 19.9 per cent in 2020-21 from 17.8 per cent in 2019-20. The last time the contribution of the agriculture sector to GDP was at 20 per cent was in 2003-04.

China is the top producer of Tea and Rice. India comes 2nd.