Abhishek Negi is the co-founder of Eggoz Nutrition – India’s first egg-focused consumer brand. Mr. Negi developed Eggoz Nutrition into an indigenous brand that focuses on bringing high-quality, chemical & antibiotic-free, farm-fresh eggs from local farmers straight to consumer tables. Mr. Negi is an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Mr. Negi’s incredible entrepreneurial journey has made him feature in Fortune 30 under 30.
India majorly being an agrarian society, with almost 60 per cent of the rural household dependent on farming, has huge potential for economic growth with livestock farming. The agriculture sector, comprising mostly of small and marginal farmers, contributes about 20 per cent of the country’s gross value added. Several surveys and market research have outlined that the sector has the potential of growing to approximately $ 24 billion by 2025 from $ 204 million at present.
While the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, as a part of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), aims at eliminating hunger completely by 2030, Agri-tech players in India have been playing an effective role in revolutionizing the agricultural value chain with innovation and technology. Agri-tech players, especially the start-ups in the sector, not only play a key role in the sustainable growth of the country but also contribute significantly to the overall economy.
The incubation of innovation and technology in agricultural methodologies has led to the transition from resource-intensive, high-input farming methods to long-term, outcome-based services. With the use of digital services & cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI, data analytics, etc.), Agri-tech organizations have been helping farmers make informed decisions to increase productivity with enhanced efficiency. The transformation has also led to an added attention from the government, non-government organizations (NGOs), the private sector and venture capitalists funding the start-ups.
In view of the relevance of the Agri-tech sector in the country’s economic growth, the government has introduced several policy changes to encourage and promote the industry. The government’s policies to address the problems impacting the agriculture sector have lead towards the formation of around 70,000 Agri-tech startups in the country.
However, for a sustainable economic growth through agricultural advancements, India still needs to address key challenges like a steady decrease in the agricultural land due to increasing pollution, small and fragmented land holdings, poor quality of seeds, lack of mechanization, lack of analytics and data, the low yield on per unit crop, reliance on middlemen, etc. Other challenges include the absence of unified physical marketplaces, inadequate transportation facilities and storage, existence of malpractices in the unorganized markets, scarcity of organized credit and lack of visibility in terms of pricing, market, etc.
With several new Agri-tech players leading the way to escalate the agricultural revolution in the country, the country is picking up the pace to match the global standards and innovators in the domain are working on the application of modern-age technologies like hydroponics, drones, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, big data and vertical farming, to enhance production in a shorter time span.
From on-ground assistance like soil analysis to using technologies to forecast environmental effects using satellite images, Agri-tech players are continuing to research and innovate to bring in a fast-paced transition. The primary focus has been to transform the way agriculture in done traditionally across all stages of the value chain. Agri-tech players are also helping the farmers in the distribution phase by researching on ways to integrate the physical market with digital platforms through e-marketplaces.