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Govt Calls Upon Agri-tech startups to Build Strong Framework For Indian Agricultural Growth Agri-tech startups can bring in necessary interventions to augment agricultural productivity

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The agriculture sector in India is grappling with many challenges. Lack of adequate land spaces, diminishing water resources, the adverse impact of climate change and escalating costs are taking a toll on the health of this sector. To counter this, the Ministry of Agriculture and Invest India, an official agency of the country striving to promote investments by acting as a facilitator is all set to join hands to seek solutions to issues that are acting as a roadblock towards agricultural productivity.

This initiative between the Ministry of Agriculture and Invest India is set to officially launch the Agri-Tech Challenge at the TiEcon-Delhi Summit on December 15.

The Agriculture Grand challenge is a unique opportunity for Agri-tech startups to solve key challenges being faced by India in this sector. The government has identified 12 key problem statements ranging from providing a fair price to the farmer to the creation of yield estimation models, which can be used by farmers.

It is worth mentioning that approximately 54.6% of the Indian population is engaged in agriculture and allied activities (census 2011) with only 17 percent contribution to the country's Gross Value Added. Needless to say, the Indian Agriculture industry forms a major part of the economy. The challenges in the industry have created room for entrepreneurship to come up with various ideas, leading to the formation of various Agri-tech startups.

Two solutions, idea stage and ready-market stage, for each problem statement, will be shortlisted under the program. The idea stage startups 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 the easy adoption of their innovation.

With population growth hitting the roof, it is a sad of affairs that nearly 25 per cent of our agricultural produce is wasted. This is primarily due to the government's inability to manage storage space.

This is the first time the Ministry of Agriculture has taken up such an innovative approach towards crowd sourcing solutions and promoting the startup ecosystem at the same time.

The Agriculture Grand Challenge is touted to be amongst one of the many initiatives towards Narendra Modi's 2022 vision of doubling farmers' income.

Villgro and Qualcomm are the strategic partners for the event.

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