[Startup Bharat] How these agritech companies are developing with options to empower farmers from small cities


India has the second largest agricultural area in the world, with about 60 percent of rural Indian households making a living from agriculture. However, despite its enormous importance to the sector, it is still grappling with a myriad of issues such as the use of outdated equipment, inadequate infrastructure, and farmers lacking easy access to a wide variety of markets and making limited profits from the sale of crops.

To improve their livelihoods and solve these challenges, agritech startups are trying to provide information to the farming community, improve their cultivation techniques, and help farmers become more efficient.

India’s agro-tech market has the potential to hit $ 24 billion by 2025, according to a report by EY. India is home to more than 450 agro technology startups that are growing 25 percent year over year, according to a 2019 NASSCOM report. These companies are increasingly equipping more than 150 million farmers with data-driven systems.

Your story lists five such startups Tier II and III cities aiming to support farmers with advanced solutions.

Farm cart

With the aim of making agricultural inputs affordable and accessible for farmers, Atul Patidar launches farm kart in 2017. Farmkart from Barwani is an e-commerce platform that enables farmers to purchase modern agricultural products like Fertilizers, pesticides and seeds at affordable prices.

The startup also enables farmers to rent agricultural machinery – from sickles to cultivators – from certified suppliers through its rent4farm service.

Farmkart team [Image Credit: Farmkart]

Atul claims that Farmkart can deliver products to rural and remote locations within 24-36 hours, including areas not yet served by e-commerce majors in India.

Farmkart was selected as part of the Top 50 Global Innovative Startups in 2018 by Startup Grind, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. The startup was also mentioned and appreciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 70th edition of ‘Man Ki Baat’.

In addition to providing e-commerce services, Farmkart also provides end-to-end advice to farmers to help them understand how to use technology to improve their products. According to the founder, farmers can call the official number and seek advice from agronomists.

Atul adds that the startup has raised Rs 15 crore in seed funding from unknown investors and is now looking to raise its Series A funds next year.

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Founded in 2020 by Vimal Panjwani along with his mother and a retired government official Shobha Chanchlani, AgriVijay offers farmers and rural families a wide range of renewable energy devices tailored to their needs and infrastructure.

The Pune-based startup is an aggregator that offers various products such as biogas generator sets, solar powered water pumps, solar inverters and solar water heaters to meet customers’ specific energy needs.

The startup mainly sells through its website, call center, and social media channels. Farmers can also buy the products in the startup’s offline stores in the villages. The prices for the solar and biogas systems range from Rs 9,000 to Rs 35,000.

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Rise hydroponics

Founded in April 2020 by Tusshar Aggarwal, Meet Patel and Vivek Shukla, Rise hydroponics provides end-to-end solutions for soilless farming and is involved in the development of outdoor and indoor hydroponic farm projects.

Ahmedabad-based agritech startup claims it has built a 12,000-square-foot commercial hydroponic farm in Bhiwandi that is expected to be operational soon. An indoor vertical hydroponic farm was also built in Worli, Mumbai.

Rise Hydroponics claims to have completed over 20 projects in 13 cities including Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Gurugram and Jamnagar.

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Founded in 2017 byRounak Kumar, Raman Kumar, and Priya Pandey, Agrifeeder empowers farmers by training them in new technologies and cultivation techniques, and by providing high quality seeds and fertilizers for pre-harvest marketing and post-harvest management.

Agrifeeder supports farmers in five main areas – storage facilities, purchase of grain and fertilizers, agricultural training and support, implementation of organic farming and financial support.

The Bihar-based start-up offers farmers training on cultivation techniques, the correct use of chemicals and fertilizers to improve productivity, and deciding on product prices. It also trains farmers in the production of their own organic fertilizers and encourages them to take up organic farming.

In January of this year, it raised seed capital from the Bihar government as part of the Startup Bihar Policy. Agrifeeder currently works with 80 farmers across Bihar.

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Agritech startup headquartered in Bhagalpur Saptkrishi has evolved Sabjikothi or Conservator, a bike-mountable, micro-climate-based storage solution that is inexpensive, portable and extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables from three days to 30 days.

Founded in 2019 by Nikky Kumar Jha together with his sister Rashmi Jha, Saptkrishi is currently accelerating at IIT-Kanpur. It was previously incubated at IIT-Patna and has carried out paid pilot tests as part of various public and private collaborations such as the Indian government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the consulting firm Microsave.

Nikky says the USP resides in the fact that it is a chemical-free, non-cooling, and all-green technology priced at Rs 10,000. “It’s a valuable one-time investment and will last for several harvest seasons. It increases the ROI for farmers and traders and opens up new opportunities and bigger markets, ”he says.

The siblings raised Rs 10 lakh through Nidhi Prayas with IIT-Kanpur for research and development, which will come in several installments. They also received a similar grant from IIT-Patna. The startup raised a pre-seed round of Rs 15 lakh from Invent, Villgro, as well as multiple awards and grants in undisclosed amounts to bring Sabjikothi to market.

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