Pandemics are catalysts for innovation and quick solutions to the problems caused by lockdowns. This applies to all industries, including agri-tech. The impact has varied across the agriculture industry, but on the whole, things are looking up. Due to a variety of technological advances, Indian agriculture is once again undergoing irreversible change.
When the first lockdown was announced, the supply chain was severely disrupted due to mobility restrictions. Farmers were unable to carry on with their normal operations due to a lack of necessary inputs. In the aftermath of the pandemic, users, businesses, and even investors were forced to brace for the worst.
Farmers can no longer meet in person to discuss crop and cattle problems due to a lack of access to on-the-ground advice services. Because of this phenomenon, there was a 30% increase in agricultural and cattle-related inquiries on agri-networking platforms.
Business-to-farmer digital networks became critical for companies such as agri-retailers and small equipment manufacturers, which had previously relied heavily on traditional methods. During the Covid era, such practices became increasingly popular.
The rise of new agri-tech firms
The unexpected implementation of a strict lockdown created a great deal of uncertainty, and it took young businesses some time to process the implications and rise to the occasion. Companies had to devise ways to communicate digitally with users in order to teach and educate rural farmers about technological advances and how to use them because travelling physically was no longer an option.
Due to farmers’ inability to obtain supplies locally, agri-input companies saw an opportunity to sell via the internet (e-commerce). Companies saw an opportunity to build marketplaces where farmers could sell their crops, tractors, and livestock because mandis were not working properly.
The changing character of the investment environment
According to Bain & Co., agri-tech in India is expected to generate $30-35 billion in revenue by 2025. As a result, investors have long been drawn to the agri-tech startup sector. It is impossible to predict how quickly new technologies such as digitalization and supply chain improvements such as big data and machine learning will be adopted by the general public. The outbreak demonstrated to investors that pandemic adoption had been accelerated.
Agriculture in India will suffer as a result
Farmers in India have relied on the same techniques for decades. Farm output growth and improvement, supply chain interventions, post-harvest waste reduction, and a variety of other innovations are now being supported by agri-tech enterprises that are taking advantage of technological disruption. As a result of the pandemic, many farmers were forced to use technology integrations.
The supply chain is much more efficient now than it was before technological advancements. Farmers can select from a wide range of vendors and products and compare the various options in terms of price and value before making a final decision. Farmers who sell their products on these platforms not only make more money, but they also get a higher price for their goods.