Indian agriculture has been on the decline for over a decade now. The sorry state of Indian agriculture finally got the attention it deserved from Modi Government 2.0. Numerous policies and packages were introduced and in a recent spate, several major initiatives including financial support, progressive reforms and easing of laws have been announced.
In this context, Vasudevan Chinnathambi, Co-Founder, NinjaCart shared his expectations:
“Farmers go where they get the right value. The “Mandis” offered them a specific price and constant demand but now, they have a lot of parallel options. Entrance of private companies, startups and AGTech firms are bringing a lot of value and investment in the sector.
The mechanisms governing Indian agriculture are transforming – companies are buying farmers’ produce even before harvesting begins. Advent of contract farming, e-commerce and retailers buying directly from farmers will soon reduce the farmers’ burden. It will transform Indian farms to manufacturing units; this new age farming will be much more certain and no longer be a gamble.
Farmers will adapt to direct selling without abandoning the “Mandi” system. It will at least take a few years to take over or create a significant impact on “Mandis”. Digitization of farm trade is also in the horizon and I expect the farmers to adapt faster than the consumers. In a few years from now, I believe, farmers will be spoilt for choice, chased by private firms for directly buying their produce.”
Dr. Elizabeth Warham, FRSB, Lead Agri-Tech, Bioeconomy, International Trade & Investment, Department for International Trade, UK, was one of the members visiting India to suggest the government new reforms and technologies that Indian farmers can adopt from UK. She viewed the problems of Indian farmers from a global point and opined:
“With a growing world population, we have a rising demand for food with declining resources. The challenges we face are global and unless we work together in global partnerships and use the best available expertise and knowledge, we won’t be able to make the differences that are needed. We need to ensure that rural farms survive, become profitable and help the local communities.
Adoption of technology is critical for improvement of Indian farming. Agri-tech solutions can help farmers to improve productivity and quality of their produce. India needs to adopt better post-harvesting crop management approaches and technology.
Farmers need better warehousing and next level logistics support that uses renewable energy, has lesser impact on climate and are more affordable to deliver the produce from farms to markets in good condition. Vertical farming and other controlled agriculture methods with lower emissions should also be explored.
These changes can be brought about by working collaboratively and by demonstrating that technology is applicable and can be adapted to the local conditions. It must also be affordable and accessible to the farmer and that’s where FPOs become very valuable.”