From Kisan Drones to public private partnerships to help deliver high-tech services to farmers, the Union Budget`s focus was on increasing the use of technology in the agricultural sector. “The government`s focus on equitable MSP distribution is encouraging to see,” says Kulwant Singh, a farmer from Jalandhar, Punjab. The FM has encouraged the use of `Kisan Drones` for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients. “The announcement of Kisan Drones for promoting crop assessment, digitising land records, spraying agri-nutrients like fertilisers and pesticides, etc., will give a fillip to increasing the yield of the small and marginal farmers,” says Amith Agarwal, co-founder and CEO, AgriBazaar, an agritech marketplace. To provide such hi-tech services to farmers, private agritech players will work closely with the public sector, under a scheme that will be launched in the PPP mode. “The Budget has also placed agritech in the right limelight with the Finance Minister reposing faith in the role of these new-age players to transform the agriculture sector in the country under the PPP mode,” says Prasanna Rao, MD and co-founder, Arya. ag.
Along with the focus on increasing farmers` digital presence, there is a lot of encouragement for agritech startups as well, including a fund with blended capital, raised under the co-investment model, which will be facilitated through NABARD. Sitharaman said, “This is to finance startups for agriculture and rural enterprise, relevant for the farm produce value chain. We are going to see many new business models in design and distribution of farm tools and implements,” says Hemendra Mathur, Venture partner, Bharat Innovation Fund. Now it wants to further meddle in a farm`s business on the pretext of increasing oilseeds production.
“For farmers to adopt natural farming, a comprehensive package for the participation of state governments and MSMEs is to be introduced,” Sitharaman said. .