With the increasing proliferation of technology, entrepreneurs have come up with innovative ideas across industries, including agriculture. India is an agrarian economy, and 70 percent of its population are engaged in farming activities, which makes it even more critical to find solutions to their problems.
According to a report by NASSCOM, there are over 450 agritech startups in India, growing at a rate of 25 percent year-on-year. The industry also predicts a market potential of $24 billion by 2025. Some of the prominent agritech startups today are helmed by women, who have upped the game with their path-breaking solutions.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
Anisha Goel and Shruti Jain, Kaze Living
Anisha, who has always been health-conscious, found herself helpless when she returned to India from Paris in 2015. She tried looking for healthy greens and berries, but there were none. Her family background helped her understand the situation better, and find a solution. Since most of their businesses revolved around bio-pesticides and organic farming, she was aware of the flaws that existed when it came to organic certifications.
The young entrepreneur decided to join hands with Shruti Jain and Abhishek Dalal and founded Kaze Living, a direct-to-consumer brand that offers a wide variety of fresh and pesticide-free food to customers. The startup is closely associated with hydroponic farms, where plants are grown in water, nourished with minerals and nutrients. It officially launched in January 2020, and since then, has witnessed a 40 percent growth every month.
Shriya Naheta, Zama Organics
In 2017, Mumbai-based Shriya Naheta launched Zama Organics in 2017, with a mission to deliver organic produce to people’s doorsteps. While studying business and international relations from the University of Southern California, she was exposed to the wide variety of organic foods available in the country. Later, when her sister was looking for organic farms to supply to her farm-to-table restaurant, Shriya came up with this idea.
She started with an initial investment of Rs 10 lakh, and today earns capital worth Rs 2 crore. The startup has a tie-up with over 50,000 farmers.
Also watch: Shriya Naheta of Zama Organics speaks to MAKERS India.
Srishti Mandaar, Red Otter Farms
Srishti along with her co-founder Anubhav Das founded Red Otter Farms in early 2017. The agritech startup utilises new-age technologies and predictive analytics to produce high-quality produce, with minimal wastage. Based in Delhi and Naintal, it focuses on Aquaponics, a sustainable agricultural practice that revolves around raising fish and other aquatic life forms, and their discharge fed to plants. After trying out various permutations and combinations, the startup started its commercial operations in October 2018. Operational in both B2B and B2C models, Red Otter Farms offers organic vegetables to markets in Delhi-NCR and Ramnagar, Uttarakhand.
Kalyani Shinde, Godaam Innovations
This agritech startup specifically caters to onion farmers who suffer losses due to storage, even before their produce reaches the market. For the uninitiated, the cultivation of onion takes 120 days, after which it is stored for a period of six to eight months in warehouses, but it is during this time that most of the crop is spoilt. To overcome this challenge, Godaam Innovations deploys new-age technologies like IoT to detect the gases emitted from spoilt onions in warehouses. It also gathers real-time data and alerts the farmers.
The innovative startup has also partnered with various government organisations including the Directorate of Onion and Garlic Research (DOGR), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Sai Gole, BharatAgri
The young entrepreneur, who is the co-founder of BharatAgri, has revolutionised agriculture with her innovative ideas. Her startup assists farmers to maximise their production, and thereby their income, by telling them what, when and how to grow. The algorithm that the startup uses is the star here and has been able to solve various challenges faced by farmers.
She and her co-founder Siddharth Dialanim were a part of IIT-Madras’ Centre for Innovation. Earlier, the startup was called LeanAgri and was later renamed as BharatAgri. Today, it has close to 100,000 users, besides 2,500 paid farmers.
Himani Shah, Intello Lab
This Delhi-based agritech startup was founded by Himani Shah and three others to understand the quality of produce. Using machine learning and image learning, Intello Lab grades the quality of agricultural produce. For instance, it provides services like testing and grading of wheat, corn, tomato, soybean, potato, and onions.
Intello Lab works on a B2B model with food growers, processors, retailers, food service companies, and other stakeholders in the food supply and production chain. A mechanical engineering graduate, Himani also has a dual degree from IIT-Bombay, and looks after strategy at the startup, along with other responsibilities. The startup also plans to expand its operations in the US and other markets.
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)