As an innovative measure for realising the vision of doubling the farmers’ income by 2022, the Government has launched a new initiative ‘The Agriculture Grand Challenge’ which would offer a unique opportunity for Agri-tech start-ups to solve some key challenges which are being faced by in the Indian Agriculture sector.
The national level initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare was launched by Union Agriculture Secretary SK Pattanayak at the TIE-con Delhi Summit on Friday.
“This Government is very open to using technology for finding solutions to our problems. The Agriculture Grand Challenge is our invitation to the youth of this country to solve for India,” said Pattanayak while launching the initiative.
The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in association with Invest India has identified 12 key problem statements which range from providing a fair price to the farmer to creation of yield estimation models which can be used by farmers. Two solutions, at idea stage and ready-market stage, for each problem statement will be shortlisted under the program. The idea stage start-ups will get incubation support to go from idea to prototype while the ready market solutions will get to be part of a market access program, aimed at easy adoption of their innovation.
In addition to Invest India, Villgro, Qualcomm India and ICRISAT are strategic partners for this initiative. This is the first time the Agriculture Ministry would adopt an innovative approach towards crowd sourcing solutions and would promote the Start-up eco system at the same time.
“Qualcomm India would support innovation in India through the Agriculture Grand Challenge. We are a passionate believer in the power of innovation, and we will be leveraging our advanced technology platforms and decades of innovation experience to further enable India’s best and brightest, as they work to increase output and advance efficiency in India’s agriculture sector,”said Larry Paulson, VP and President, Qualcomm India.
Deepak Bagla, CEO Invest India, said,“The Agriculture Grand Challenge, a joint initiative of Invest India with the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare aims to create a generation of agripreneurs.”
In August 2017, NITI Aayod had organised the “Champions of Change – Transforming India through G2B partnership” initiative which was attended by hundreds of young CEOs. After this event, a group of young CEOs made presentation before Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Doubling of Farmers Income by 2022. The new ideas and innovation envisaged in the presentations were appreciated and it was decided to launch the first of its kind Agriculture Grand Challenge so that innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture can be promoted.
The Agriculture Grand Challenge identifies 12 themes:
1. Simplified soil testing methods
2. Assaying and grading solution
3. Development of E-marketplace
4. Price forecasting during sowing
5. Last mile information dissemination
6. Yield estimation
7. Sorting and grading of produce
8. Adulteration testing
9. Customer hiring centres
10. Crop residue disposal
11. Prevent pre harvest and post-harvest losses
12. Enhancing agricultural productivity