In 2016, world leaders pledged to end world hunger by 2030. The disparity, though, is wider than it has ever been. The number of people at risk of starvation, as reported by the United Nations, has increased from 135 million to 345 million.
Over 22 million people in Africa are in danger of famine due to the drought. Hunger has already begun to affect the Somali population. Crops in southern China are equally vulnerable to heatwaves and droughts. Moreover, the crisis between Russia and Ukraine is also soaring prices of fuel and fertilisers. In certain African countries, the price of fertilisers has climbed by an astounding 300 per cent, while world food prices have risen by 20 per cent annually. The problem will only become worse, experts say, unless we address our broken food system effectively.
Several methods have been recommended for addressing the climate catastrophe, including cutting down on carbon emissions, adapting crops to the changing weather, and decreasing the amount of chemical fertilisers used. India, however, can weather the crisis and perhaps benefit from it by seizing the chance to promote itself as a reliable, consistent and competitive global food supplier. India is in a great position to do this because of the innovative solutions provided by agritech firms.
Indian agritech industry stepping up to solve the hunger crisis
Products like mulch film, crop coverings, shade netting, and more are sold by agritech companies to farmers. When it comes to helping farmers, several agritech firms even provide buyback and warranty schemes. The government is promoting the use of drones in agriculture by offering subsidies as part of its Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM).
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To encourage the adoption of modern agricultural practices throughout India, 729 Krishi Vigyan Kendras have been set up in various regions. To encourage the growth of agritech businesses and set up a sustainable farmer ecosystem, the government has also expanded its backing for organic agriculture and practices.
Invest India projects that in the next 5 years, the agritech market in India will grow from its current US$204.15 million to US$24.1 billion. The agricultural industry in India has grown exponentially, thanks in large part to the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies.
Technology is the need of the hour
Over the last five decades, the Indian agricultural sector has undergone a massive transformation. It was characterised by high-yielding seeds, contemporary farming methods, and hefty use of fertilisers. In fact, the green revolution is still one of the most lucrative phases with a surge in productivity and revenue. However, it happened at the cost of groundwater depletion, solid degradation, yield stagnation and several other losses.
But with the rise of the agritech industry, we have an ideal solution to transit from resource-intensive farming to sustainable farming. With the government also increasingly focusing on technological interventions, farmers can produce more food, and conserve more water, while maintaining sustainability.
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Since the 1990s, the industry has seen tremendous advancements in agro-processing and biotechnology. The industry implemented protective farming in the late 2000s, which not only helped farmers ensure soil and water retention but also helped farmers achieve high yields.
Agritech startups, consequently, are increasingly focusing on offering technological interventions to help farmers increase their productivity. Agritech solutions, combined with sustainable farming practices, could be the next revolution happening in the industry.
In fact, these developments would drive the Indian agriculture sector to reach its zenith in the coming years. The 2030 goal is more difficult to reach looking at current trends, but together the world can stop the downturn.
(Views expressed in the article are author’s own. Agriculture Post doesn’t assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)