Agritech During COVID-19: Has It Lived Up to The Hype?

Despite the ongoing pandemic, agtech businesses are playing a crucial role by bringing innovation backed by technology, and solving critical challenges that are hampering the growth of the farming community.

The Indian agtech sector is registering fast-track growth in the ongoing pandemic thanks to the supportive reforms and initiatives announced by the government coupled with growing digital access to the farmers.

Interestingly, agriculture in India fared really well despite a brief disruption of supply chain and labour shortage faced during the lockdown. After the initial setback, the agtech sector stabilised and churn volume-based business.

According to the National Statistical Office’s latest estimates, agriculture is the only sector to have reported a positive growth during the June quarter, despite a 23.9% contraction in the national GDP. Even in the Q2 GDP numbers unveiled on Friday, agriculture has grown by over 3 compared to last year. In monetary terms, this sector has added Rs 14,815 crore in the first three fiscal months itself. In fact, agriculture has attracted huge private investments between July-August 2020.

As per projections, the agtech sector is likely to receive an influx of at least $500 million in the next two years. According to Maple Capital Advisors, during the first half of 2020, investors have pumped $84 million in to different agtech firms. With nearly 450 agtech startups in India that are growing steadily at 25% yearly, according to FICCI estimates, many businesses are already gearing up for subsequent funding rounds.

Even the agriculture ministry has confirmed it would fund 234 more agri businesses, which depicts the huge scalability potential of the sector. A total funding of Rs 24.85 crore under a central scheme will go to the agriculture and the allied sector businesses.