The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of India’s farm sector and adoption of digital rural products and payments over the last few months, according to agritech venture capital firm Omnivore.
In its report, The Future of Indian Agriculture and Food Systems: Vision 2030, Omnivore highlights key trends that will drive the future of agriculture in India, including precision agriculture and automation creating a "farm of one", eco-friendly crops, farmer-consumer intimacy, rise in diversity, quality and sustainability of food sources, among other things.
India’s agritech sector is witnessing a paradigm shift catalysed by digitisation and rural smartphone penetration. Agritech as an asset class has more acceptable for more investors. In the last 3-4 years there has been a lot of interest in agritech, from corporates, private equity and other investors," said Jinesh Shah, managing partner, Omnivore.
Shah added that the digitisation of the farm sector which was expected play out over 15-18 months, took just a few months in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing lockdown.
Agriculture, which mostly is witness to cash transactions, is slowly going digital, with large farmers, dealers and distributors adopting tech-enabled payment systems.
The reduction of intermediaries due to lockdown restrictions and other reasons are also boosting the farm-to-fork model.
The report points out the need for investment in horticulture, dairy, poultry, aquaculture and food processing and also anticipates a future with significant advances in farm mechanisation and automation, including farm robots taking over labor intensive tasks and reducing drudgery.
It that the country’s agricultural workforce in the future will be smaller, younger, and more gender diverse, and will move towards higher productivity jobs. The rural, non-farm economy will become actively digitised, stimulating a mass entrepreneurship movement around agricultural technologies.
With kiranas stores getting digitised, the report bets on ‘Khet to Kirana’ on the back of increased demand for traceability and transparency in the food supply chain for both the farmer and the consumer.
Over 90% of kirana stores across the country will be digitized by 2025 and be linked to modern traceable logistics which will further benefit the transparency of supply chain between the farmer and consumer.
“There will be greater digitisation and the adoption of digital rural products will be rampant. There will be more maturity in tech solutions and a lot more disruption in the sector in the next decade," said Subhadeep Sanyal, partner, Omnivore.
Omnivore has invested in several agritech startups including Clover, DeHaat, Bijak, Intello Labs among others.