INDIA ADDA – Perspectives On India

IBEF works with a network of stakeholders - domestic and international - to promote Brand India.



Dikshu C. Kukreja
Dikshu C. Kukreja
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Sanjay Bhatia
Sanjay Bhatia
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri

Agritech Ecosystem in India

Agritech Ecosystem in India

In India and many other emerging nations, the agriculture industry is a lifeline. It, directly and indirectly, supports the livelihood of several smallholder farming households. Agriculture employs about one billion people worldwide and is intertwined with a variety of industries. Around 35% of the world's food is produced by more than 608 million smallholder farmers who work on less than two hectares of land worldwide. These farmers are essential agents in reaching the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aim of eliminating poverty and hunger by 2030. In many emerging economies, continuous agricultural expansion is crucial for driving GDP, sustaining livelihoods, and ensuring food self-sufficiency. The agriculture sector has multiple challenges in terms of production, market linkages, supply chain, climate change, weather hazards, and so on, all of which result in large losses for smallholders.

Several new agritech solutions in India are addressing these difficulties in order to build a scalable ecosystem. Significant support and investment are necessary to boost smallholder productivity and attain the SDGs. Agri-tech startups have the potential to develop new solutions to these problems. The developing agri-tech sector in India has enormous potential to unlock value in terms of expansion opportunities. The 'Made in India' and 'Digital India' programmes are supported by the Government of India (GoI) in an effort to promote an innovative culture. This has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for agritech start-ups to interact with farmers and provide their services. Between 2013 and 2020, the agtech landscape in India developed from less than 50 start-ups to more than 1,000, powered by growing farmer knowledge, rising internet penetration in rural India, and the demand for higher efficiency in the agriculture sector. Furthermore, India's legislative environment is constantly improving to encourage the spread of digital agriculture technologies.

AgriTech Industry in India

 The agriculture industry, which serves as the backbone of the Indian economy, accounts for around 16.5% of India's GDP. The Indian agriculture market was valued at US$ 435.9 billion in 2022 and is predicted to increase to US$ 580.82 billion by 2028, rising at a CAGR of roughly 4.9% between 2023 and 2028. In 2022, India had approximately 450 agritech startups, with the number increasing by 25% year on year. India's agritech sector opportunity is valued at US$ 24 billion, with a market penetration of less than 1%. The large disparity between potential and actual value realisation suggests a significant opportunity for many new agritech start-ups, as well as business development chances for current start-ups.



  • Downstream agtechs

These are typically B2B or B2C platforms or brands that connect farmers with businesses or consumers. In 2022, companies like Ninjacart, Absolute, and Waycool raised more than US$ 707 million in capital. Funding selections are influenced by the maturity of business models, the requirement for follow-up rounds of investment, and highly accessible and monetizable prospects across categories.

  • End-to-end ecosystems

These are platforms that operate across the value chain and have a strong presence in a variety of areas, such as inputs and outputs. Such businesses, including DeHaat, attracted more than US$ 113 million in capital in 2022.

  • Digital solutions and precision agtech

These are digital solutions or products that give farmers with services such as advising, precision farming, and sensor-based solutions. Companies like Cropin attracted more than US$ 92 million in investment in 2022.

  • Midstream agtechs

These are agricultural technology companies that assist in the provision of supply chain solutions that improve efficiencies in areas such as logistics and warehousing. Companies like Arya attracted more than US$ 80 million in financing in 2022.

  • Agribiotech

These are agtechs that use biotechnology to generate green and sustainable new products or ingredients such as food additives. More than US$ 63 million in capital was attracted by companies like String Bio in 2022.

  • Farm to fork

Direct-to-customer brands or platforms that connect farmers to end consumers and have an impact on improving farming practises. In 2022, firms like Eggoz Nutrition and Akshayakalpa attracted more than US$ 47 million in funding.

  • Upstream agtechs

B2C platforms for input linkages, for categories like seeds, nutrition, agrochemicals, etc. In 2022, firms like AgroStar and BigHaat attracted more than US$ 45 million in funding.

  • Agriculture mechanization/automation

Solutions that supply various automation technology or certain types of machines as a service for use on farms. In 2022, firms like Tractor Junction attracted more than US$ 8 million in funding.

  • Agriculture fintech

Developing long-term finance possibilities for rural agriculture stakeholders. For example firms like Support Farming.

Significance of Smallholder Farmers

Smallholders, who own less than two hectares of land and account for 82% of all agricultural land, make up the majority of those working in the industry. Smallholders are critical in driving agricultural productivity. Thus, continuous agricultural growth is crucial in many emerging economies to fuel GDP, sustain livelihoods, and assure food self-sufficiency. The Agritech Challenge intends to serve as a link between markets within the global south. There are 540 million smallholder farms worldwide, accounting for 30% of global food production. Smallholder producers face difficulties in acquiring input, credit, a market, and technology. Furthermore, a lack of income surplus renders them from more vulnerable to natural disasters. Smallholder farmers continue to be exposed to a variety of unpredictability variables, including price fluctuations, regulations, diseases, infrastructure, and information asymmetry, as well as unexpected weather and climate change. Furthermore, the recent Covid epidemic has heightened the risks for smallholder farmers. A system that removes the barrier between smallholders and the market will promote efficient resource utilisation, resilience, and food security. Farmers, according to the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), are the key change agents in reaching the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of eliminating poverty and famine by 2030.

The illustration below depicts the relationship between smallholder farmers and the nine SDGs, which are broadly classified as poverty, nutrition, social, and environmental goals. As a result, significant support and investment are required to boost smallholder productivity in order to meet the SDGs.


Investment Landscape

Agtechs are ready to interact with Indian farmers due to government initiatives and farmers' willingness to accept new technologies, but they will require reliable finance sources and a lively, encouraging ecosystem to be successful. Agriculture technology in India has developed in recent years, owing to the increasing attention of venture capital (VC). Accel and Sequoia Capital have invested in firms such as Samunnati, Ninjacart, DeHaat, and Bijak. A total of US$ 1.6 billion has been raised by Indian agtech companies during the last four years. VC companies invested more than US$ 1.2 billion in 114 acquisitions in 2022 alone, a 50% increase from 2021 and a tripling of the investment made in 2020. Despite a two-year economic slump, the average deal size is increasing, demonstrating that start-ups are maturing in this field. In 2022, five agtech sectors received 90% of the total VC funding. 


Opportunities for Agritech start-ups

  • A large number of smallholdings

Smallholdings account for 84% of the world's 570 million farms, with 9 less than 2 hectares of land. It is humanly difficult to reach all of these farmers and provide access to the most up-to-date farm-related information in order to enhance production or make farming more efficient. Agritech start-ups can have a disproportionate influence on the lives of smallholders by offering access to loans, insurance, inputs, and market connectivity at a lower cost and with more efficiency. Furthermore, these start-ups have the capacity to contact and communicate with millions of farmers across varied geographies.

  • Impact of climate change

Weather forecasting has gotten more precise with the emergence of sophisticated AI and ML techniques combined with satellite images. As a result, an advisory based on the weather situation will assist farmers in mitigating weather-related risks. As a result of climate change, agritech firms may manage weather-related hazards and advise on climate-resilient agriculture practises.

  • Increased mobile internet and smartphone penetration

Globally, the number of mobile internet users has expanded tremendously. The adoption of mobile internet and smartphones is substantially higher among young people under the age of 35, providing a unique opportunity for agritech start-ups to digitally interact with smallholder farmers through their unique and innovative solutions.

  • Consumer behaviour

Consumer preferences for clean, chemical-free, and sustainably derived food have grown in line with urbanisation and money. Organic food is becoming more popular among health-conscious consumers willing to pay a premium. It provides an exceptional opportunity for agritech start-ups to address concerns such as manufacturing clean and chemical-free goods, supply chain issues, and traceability. Additionally, by implementing the latest technologies, it will assist smallholders in producing responsibly while reassuring consumers that their products are pure, unadulterated, and derived from sustainable sources.

  • Increased support from the government and incubators

At the implementation and policy levels, the government is also enthusiastic about agritech. AGRI UDAAN, Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), a-IDEA (Association for innovation development for Entrepreneurship in Agriculture), ICRISAT (International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), T-Hub, and Agri-Tech Start-up Accelerator CIE, Hyderabad, MANAGE Agri-clinics and Agri-Business Centre Incubation centre are some of the crucial accelerators and incubators for the agritech sector in India.

Role of technology




Possible Solution Areas


Supply chain


Value leakage from post-harvest loss ranges from 20% to 50% in the partner nations. It is mostly due to various intermediaries and a fragmented value chain, which causes value leakage and reduced net price realisation for farmers.

The value chain can be tracked digitally via traceability, remote sensing, and location tracking. Affordable quality control tools (sensors, IoT, cloud-based to perform several aspects of quality control-optical/olfactory/density).


Access to the market

Intermediaries control the market, and thus the price.

Increases farmers' access to the market in order to maximise value.


Farm inputs

Farmers lack access to high-quality agricultural supplies, farm machinery, and other auxiliary equipment, resulting in low agricultural output or poor crop quality. Because of their small landholdings, smallholder farmers struggle to afford agricultural machinery.

Farming as a service (SaaS) provides access to sophisticated equipment access. Sensor-based, remote/proximity sensing (moisture sensing) techniques to reduce agricultural water usage.


Mitigate risk and climate change impact

Crop and livestock insurance are underutilised, and there is a lack of knowledge about insurance products. Insurance only provides limited crop coverage. Low adoption of climate-smart agriculture, such as zero-tillage or natural farming, to mitigate climate risks.

Digital parametric and nonparametric insurance products. Weather and agricultural monitoring can be done remotely. Advisory services for farmers. Remote monitoring of soil nutrient levels and carbon sequestration.

Role of Government in AgriTech

  • Easier digital reach through farmer collectivization

The government has supported farmer-producer organisations (FPOs), funding US$ 750 million over the next five years to establish over 10,000 FPOs. FPOs unite the otherwise dispersed farmer base, allowing agtech firms (such as Samunnati) to readily access and scale up their business models.

  • Development of the “agristack”

India is developing a centralised database of agricultural data sets that will be linked to farmers based on their land holdings. This will allow agtech companies to tailor their offerings and products to farmers' specific demands, which vary depending on land size, crop type, and soil conditions.

  • Digital soil-health cards

A digital soil-health-card programme comprises mapping soil composition and quality at the farmer level. It could help agtech businesses in India in promoting initiatives for precision farming initiatives and customising their products for particular farmer groups.

  • Digitally enabled direct benefit transfer in fertilizer sales

This scheme provides direct subsidies to farmers for fertiliser and other items. It validates the farmer's identity at points of sale and through verification. It has the potential to greatly increase fertiliser uptake while also reducing leakages in transportation, hence ensuring affordability for smallholder farmers.

  • National Agriculture Market (eNAM)

By linking existing Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis, this pan-Indian electronic online trading site creates a unified national market for agricultural commodities that guarantees better pricing for farmers through a transparent auction process.

  • Agricultural Accelerator Fund and digital public infrastructure

The government has established a new fund to promote the agtech ecosystem, potentially spawning new start-ups that would improve digital usage and the breadth of digital solutions available to farmers. Furthermore, the government announced its intention to establish an open-source digital public infrastructure that will most likely provide agtechs with important information services along the value chain.

Road Ahead

Agriculture technology, or agtech, is critical to accelerating India's development into a farming powerhouse. The agritech industry's prospects indeed appear to be promising. Overall, agritech is altering the ecosystem's status quo in order to benefit the community and all of its stakeholders. The government has announced that the farm credit target will be raised to US$ 240.38 billion (Rs. 20 lakh crore), with a renewed emphasis on animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries. This will greatly benefit the community, as credit has historically been difficult to obtain for farmers. Furthermore, the government intends to use a cluster-based value chain model to improve collaboration among farmers, states, and industrial inputs, as well as market connections.

With a market value of US$ 24 billion, India's agritech sector has a market penetration of 1%. It represents the enormous unexplored market. As a result, agritech firms with similar regions have significant development prospects for domestic and worldwide expansion. With parallels in agricultural landscapes across many emerging nations, there is an enormous opportunity to assist successful Indian and other agritech solutions in scaling across borders to benefit smallholder farmers internationally. Cross-border collaborations can aid in the rapid transmission of technology or innovative solutions to least-developed economies. It may lead to greater output in order to address food security issues. India has the proper innovation ecosystem in place, as well as a pool of successful agritech start-ups, to lead the global South in encouraging cross-border collaborations.