Elevate Shuba Thakur
Joint secretary Shubha Thakur highlights the Indian government’s impetus on organic and natural farming. Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Dubai: India is witnessing the emergence of a new wave of startups that are looking at solving some of the age-old quality and supply-chain issues in the country’s vast agricultural sector. Some support sustainable farming, while others help India’s small- and medium-scale farmers get the best price for their produce.

As per a recent report, the adoption of technology in India’s agricultural sector will create a market worth $24 billion by 2025. This might explain why the domain is already crowded with more than 2,800 startups, with a combined workforce of 24,000.

Video by: Sonia Shah and Reporting: John Benny

“This is the potential of the sector. We have schemes which encourage startups, and we get many applications and it is very difficult to choose the best ones,” said Shubha Thakur, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, during the latest Elevate session on Thursday.

More than half of the agricultural-related startups belong to the agritech sector. “There are around 1,600 startups in the space, followed by 505 startups in organic agriculture,” said Thakur. “The government is also giving a great push to organic farming and natural farming - it is the next big thing.”

As part of efforts to showcase the country’s investment-friendly policies and growth opportunities in agriculture and allied sectors at Expo 2020, Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, invited the startups and FPOs (farmer producer organisations) to submit their proposals to the ministry, and assured them that they would be considered for providing equity grants, management costs, and other available support measures.

“The primary purpose of our participation at Expo2020 is to provide benefits to the small and marginal farmers who need economies of scale, collectivisation, and more forums to come together, create synergies to connect with markets both domestic and international,” said Likhi.

Meanwhile, around 24 startups showcased their business ideas at the latest Elevate event in Dubai. These sessions were started as a platform to showcase 500 startups from India at the innovation hub outside the Indian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Around 344 startups have already participated in the programme.

Greentatwa Agri Tech: Started in 2019 with a vision to support natural farming and to provide chemical-free food to people, the company has introduced 85 chemical-free food products on e- commerce portals.

Innerbeing Wellness: This is an FMCG company focused on millet snacks, instant food and mixes.

Sri Velavan Agro: It is the first food processing industry for millets in Trichy, Tamil Nadu. The startup runs a ‘farm to fork’ organisation, where primary and secondary processing is done.

Wholsum Foods Pvt Ltd: This is the parent company of millet-based children’s food brand Slurrp Farm. Founded in 2016 by two mothers, Slurrp Farm aims to provide healthy, yummy, and natural snack and mealtime options for young children and their parents.

Grami Super Foods: Grami is a premier producer of organic and natural millet-based food

products that enhance the quality of life and well-being. As a consumer products company, Grami manufactures and sells millet-based products under its own brand.