Everyone knows that India is still dominated by agriculture and it still remains one of the drivers of the economy. It was not surprising that impact of technology in agriculture is substantial and quickly making inroads in to it. However I am not going to discuss or comment on current status of the technology in agriculture but going to talk more upon the challenges in Indian agriculture sector with respect to technology penetration and sector opportunities.
Indian farmers are well aware of the conventional means as well as mechanised conventional means like tractor etc. However technological innovations have opened up a new area all together in India. Technology penetration can broadly be classified in to following two sections
- Innovations resulting in to introduction of new sector specific farming equipment.
- Innovations in devices resulting in to tracking real time data and generating data analytics modules.
Each of these as concepts look great and no justification is required as to why they should be adopted. But the ground reality is far different and a very hands on approach is required to get in to such business and still be able to scale it up.
Companies involved in new farming equipment as innovations.
Indian agriculture has undergone a demo graphical change in the last decade or so. Like
- Lot of migrations have taken place resulting in shortage of labour,
- Education level has certainly gone up..
- Younger generation is exposed to new world outside their town…
- Mobile and internet has brought them together and given them the knowledge power
However it is extremely important to have ground connection since here customer is so well prepared, and knowledgeable and he has been farming for ages. Any new technology introduced in the form of farming is completely based on practical usage for the farmer. He would be keen to know how it would solve his actual problems in the fields. The product has to clearly solve his problems which are identified and we can justify the monetary gain to the farmer. When you are introducing the new equipment or technique to farmer , you are essentially challenging his age old proven method and this is extremely tough step in the whole success journey of the company.
Agriculture is one sector where each of the crop has a unique method of production and it has its unique set of problems. But in each segment in itself is a huge market potential and if one can address it correctly it becomes extremely powerful business line.
Pure technology products using various handheld devices
Apart from innovative farming equipment, there are certain products or services which are completely based on the technology using various devices. There can be innumerable opportunities in each of the crop segment but all of them more or less based on use of internet and devices like I pads, smart phones or laptops etc. Internet and phones have penetrated in entire country but internet speed in B,C class cities and beyond is still pathetically slow and not dependable. However mobile phones have great penetration but it still needs a vernacular touch.
Any product or service which is dependable on these will have to be designed, developed and deployed very carefully since adaptability of these would be great challenge.
Normally these services are used for weather forecast or pesticide measurement, data collection and analysis, yield measurement and so on and so forth. However these services require great amount of training and education to end user and they need special touch.
Having said that unlike any other sector agriculture has huge potential and diversity to be captured.