India is the second-largest agricultural land in the world. Around 60% of rural Indian households are largely dependent on agriculture for their daily sustenance. Being the backbone of India’s economy, the agriculture sector provides massive employment opportunities to the youth. However, there are some other uncontrolled factors on which the agricultural sector depends to a great extent. They are weather conditions, market fluctuations, and topographical conditions, which simply cannot be ignored. Therefore, there is a dire need to elevate the agriculture sector through modern advancements in agriculture technology, which will ease the burden on farmers and create huge scope for agriculture startups in the country.
What is Agriculture Startup?
A startup is an entrepreneurial venture started by two or three people to develop any unique product or service and then bring it to the market. Likewise, agro startups are primarily for the agriculture sector and its related fields. The cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things (IoT), and Drones, Robotics etc., helping farmers to improve their productions and reduce the adverse outcomes occur due to any uninvited natural condition.
Agricultural Startup is growing rapidly –
According to a research, every ninth agrotech startup in the world is originating from India.
Technology-based companies are coming up with new business models. The agriculture sector is growing at an average rate of 25 per cent. The Government of India has formulated a policy to encourage start-ups in the agricultural sector and to enhance the income of farmers by providing employment opportunities to the youth. The Ministry of Agriculture is providing financial assistance to the startups under the Innovation and Agripreneurship component of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). In the first phase, 112 startups are already funded for a sum of Rs. 1185.90 lakhs. In addition to 112 startups, 234 startups in the agriculture and allied sectors will be funded for a sum of Rs. 2485.85 lakhs. The scheme encourages states to increase public investment in agriculture and allied sectors.
Innovation in Agriculture Sector –
The agriculture sector is undergoing vast change due to innovation. Farmers’ demand for agricultural produce has increased in the organized sector as our government taking all necessary steps to boost investments in the food processing sector. The agriculture sector has been strengthened with the approval of the Mega Food Park. As local farmers are involved with better solutions for agrotech startups, all forms of business have received a boost.
Role of Agro Startups –
Nowadays, numerous startups are providing services like mapping of soil quality through imagery technology. With the help of this technology, farmers can easily understand the quality of the soil and are able to use the right fertilizer and seeds. There are many startups providing services related to infestation prediction, weather forecasts, water availability, auto sprinkling systems, which also helps in testing the soil. Many financial institutions have also come forward to solve the debt problems of farmers. The digitization of the agricultural sector is said to be a major reason. Agritech startups are helping farmers get better prices for their produce, providing better distribution system and increasing their income by reducing middlemen. Needless to say, there are good career prospects in the agriculture sector today.
Scope of Employment Opportunities –
In addition to nearly a hundred institutes of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), more than 650 agricultural science centers and various state agricultural universities are engaged in the development of these technologies. There are opportunities at different levels in agribusiness, i.e, there is ocean of opportunities for the youth interested in finance, technology and non-technical fields. However, with special study in the field of agriculture gives you an opportunity to get to know this area more closely and it’s easy to enter in this field. There are several institutes that conduct post-graduation courses on the subject of Agribusiness. The students who opt for such courses get opportunities to do internships in the agriculture industries during the course and the institutes also provide career placements to the students.
Capabilities an individual must have to start agriculture business –
· Interest in agriculture and various prepared food products
· Willingness to work in established processing units in rural areas
· Monitoring of demand and supply of agro products in the international market
· Ability to convince large farmers for contract farming
· Reasonable thinking and leadership ability
· Communication skills
· Must have patience and ability to work as a team
Eligibility Criteria for Startups in India –
For a company to get into the startup category, it has to be registered as a Private Limited Company or a Partnership firm or a Limited Liability Partnership. The startups or business must not be older than 5 years and the annual turnover of the startup should be upto Rs. 25 crore. The company will come under the scope of startup if the startup or business is involved in developing a new product or service. But, if there is any kind of modification in a product, then it will be necessary to see whether the customer is getting the benefit of it.
Government will provide these facilities to Startups – In the action plan released for the startup, the government has made several important announcements, which will promote the culture of entrepreneurship and give a boost to the startups in India. There will be a self certification based Compliance for the startup. Government will give 80% rebate on patent application fees. There will be no inspection of the startup for 3 years. Startups will get income tax rebate for 3 years even if there is a profit. Those who invest in startups by selling their properties will get capital gains tax exemption. The startups will be given seed capital along with various other facilities.