Agritech Gains Momentum in Modi’s Third Term with DPI and Bharat Krishi Satellite

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on his third term, there’s a palpable anticipation for transformative policies aimed at bolstering the agriculture sector through technology and digitization.

A cornerstone of these initiatives is the rollout of the Centre’s ambitious Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) initiative for agriculture, prominently featured in the BJP’s manifesto “Sankalp Patra.”

The DPI seeks to bridge information gaps in agriculture and deliver farmer-centric solutions and services. Telangana led the charge by becoming the first state to adopt this framework, unveiling the inaugural agriculture DPI in August last year. Startups and agritech companies like Niruthi, NaPanta, and Krishitantra have already joined as data providers or consumers, laying the groundwork for broader adoption.

The objective now is to expand this framework nationwide and encourage more states to embrace it. Startups stand to benefit from enhanced data accessibility, fostering collaboration with the government to develop innovative solutions.

The agriculture DPI, also known as ‘Agristack,’ will consolidate data from diverse sources onto a unified platform, including government departments, academic institutions, farmer organizations, and private sector stakeholders. It will feature a federated farmers’ registry, assigning each farmer a unique ID linked to their land record, along with a unified farmer service platform for efficient delivery of agri-services.

This open-source, interoperable public asset promises accurate data for crop planning, access to inputs, credit, insurance, crop estimation, and market intelligence. Significant progress has already been made, with core registries and additional support registries being developed and piloted across several states.

The push for DPIs aligns with the government’s broader agenda to leverage digital solutions for agricultural transformation. According to McKinsey, AI-driven digital solutions enabled by DPI could inject over $65 billion into the Indian agriculture sector, underscoring the immense potential for growth.

Additionally, the government plans to launch the “Bharat Krishi Satellite,” leveraging satellite imagery and remote sensing for crop forecasting, pest management, irrigation, soil health, and weather forecasting. This initiative, proposed by ISRO in 2022, holds promise for startups like Cropin and Satsure, which harness satellite data to support farmers and crop insurance players.

Furthermore, the introduction of the Agri-SURE fund, with a corpus of Rs 750 crore, aims to bolster startups across various sectors, including agri-tech, food processing, animal husbandry, and fisheries. This, coupled with continued support for drone technology in agriculture, underscores the government’s commitment to driving innovation and modernization in the sector.

As India’s agritech ecosystem continues to evolve, initiatives like DPI and Bharat Krishi Satellite are poised to catalyze growth, empower farmers, and propel the sector towards a sustainable future.

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