JAL JEEVAN MISSION
August 17, 2019
AIR POLLUTION
August 19, 2019

THE NEWS: 

With Indian farmers facing post-harvest losses amounting to a whopping 93,000 crore, a slew of agritech start-ups are now trying to bridge that gap.

About NASSCOM:

  • The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. 
  • Established in 1988, NASSCOM is a non-profit organisation.

Objectives of Regulated Marketing::

  • To prevent exploitation of farmers by helping them overcome the handicaps in the marketing of their produce.
  • To make the marketing system effective and efficient so that farmers may get remunerative prices for their produce and the goods are made available to consumers at reasonable cost.
  • To provide incentive prices to farmers for inducing them to increase the production both in terms of quantity and quality.
  • To promote an orderly marketing of agricultural produce by improving the infrastructure facilities.

Problems:

  • According to government data, post-harvest losses are highest in the fruit and vegetable sector with as much as 16% of produce going waste.
  • Inadequacy of institutional marketing infrastructure and lack of producers’ organizations
  • Multiplicity of market charges
  • Existence of malpractices in the marketing system
  • Lack of reliable and up-to-date market information 
  • Low marketable surplus of a large variety of products
  • Absence of grading and standardization of produce
  • Absence of quick transport means
  • Oligopolistic nature of market due unhealthy unionisation of traders and market functionaries.

Government initiatives

  • Planning to provide air cargo support to promote agriculture exports from India.
  • Allotment of Rs. 2000 crore (USD 306.29 million) for computerization of Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) to ensure cooperatives are benefited through digital technology.
  • New AGRI-UDAAN programme launched to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture.
  • Launched Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) with an investment of Rs. 50,000 crore (USD 7.7 billion)
  • Extension of the urea subsidy to the farmers till 2020 estimated at Rs. 45,000 crore (USD 6.95 billion)

Way forward

  • A slew of agritech start-ups are now trying to bridge the gap between demand and supply with demand driven cold chains, warehouse monitoring solutions and market linkages that can significantly boost farmer income.
  • India is home to more than 450 startups in the agriculture technology sector, of the global total of about 3,100. They could help to solve the problems in the supply chain side.
  • Some of the biggest agritech deals have been aimed at addressing the issue of wastage, creating direct market linkages through digital platforms such as Ninjacart and Crofarm.
  • These could support evolving business areas such as farm to fork, or direct delivery of produce from farmers to hotels, restaurants and cafes. 
  • Other innovations like image sensing for quality grading, storage monitoring based on the Internet of Things and the digitisation of mandis, as well as farmer producer organisations could also be used. 
  • Other start-ups offer technology solutions to increase crop productivity, using big data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and remote sensing to improve land management, crop cycle monitoring and harvest traceability. 
  • Another group aims at solving farmers’ credit issues, providing low cost and timely financing for agricultural equipment and allowing access to low cost digital loans using virtual credit cards.
  • Adoption of technology in agriculture has always needed a structured institutional focus and technology firms are trying to break into the agricultural landscape using newer business models.
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