The Union Budget 2023 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 has brought a ray of hope for the agritech industry and startups in India.
Budget 2023 focused on investing in key sectors such as education and infrastructure, incentivizing investments to promote economic growth, providing opportunities for the youth to gain quality jobs and skills, and maintaining macroeconomic stability through fiscal prudence.
The government’s initiative to build a digital public infrastructure for the agriculture sector is expected to be an open-source digital public good that will support growth for these entities.
The digital public infrastructure will enable inclusive farmer-centric solutions through relevant information services for crop planning, improve access to farm input, credit, insurance, crop estimation, market intelligence and other related activities.
Agriculture accelerator fund
To further promote the growth of such startups, an agriculture accelerator fund will also be launched by the government. The fund will focus on supporting young entrepreneurs in rural areas by equipping them with modern tools and technologies. The fund will follow a cluster-based approach, the FM said at the Union Budget 2023.
Speaking on the same, Apoorva Ranjan Sharma, Cofounder and Managing Director of Venture Catalysts, said “the initiative to develop a digital public infrastructure for agriculture is a step in the right direction, which will prove vital for the growth of India’s emerging AgriTech sector. The foresight displayed with the establishment of an Agriculture Accelerator Fund to support startups and entrepreneurs in the country is striking, and will go on to further strengthen India’s largest industry.”
The Economic Survey 2021 tabled on January 31 had highlighted how agritech startups have been instrumental in helping farmers improve their farming techniques and practices.
The new digital infrastructure and accelerator fund are expected to build upon this success. Innovative entrepreneurs and startups across rural areas will have access to cutting-edge technology and resources to develop solutions that can help enhance the productivity of Indian agriculture.
The government’s commitment to the agritech industry and startups is incredibly encouraging. It is expected to bring about revolutionary change to the Indian agriculture sector, helping farmers increase production and make better use of available resources.
In addition to providing much needed financial and technological support, the government’s move may also lead to more employment opportunities in the sector.