Agri ministry seeks tech solutions for 12 agrarian issues

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New Delhi: Aiming to double farmers’ income by 2022, the Union Agriculture Ministry today launched a grand challenge for technology startups to find solutions for 12 problems, including burning of crop residue, in farm sector.

The ministry will hand-hold and help startups in finding technological solutions that should be affordable and implementable, Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak said while launching this grand challenge.

Agri-tech start-ups have been asked to find simplified soil testing methods; assaying and grading solution; development of e-marketplace; price forecasting during sowing; last mile information dissemination; yield estimation; sorting and grading of produce; adulteration testing; customer hiring centres; crop residue disposal; prevent pre- and post-harvest losses and enhancing agricultural productivity.

“We are increasingly looking to science and technology for finding solutions in the farm sector. The Agriculture Grand challenge is a unique opportunity for agri-tech start- ups to solve some key challenges which are being faced by in the agriculture sector in India,” he said.

Stating that India is self-sufficient in foodgrain production, the secretary said that the ministry’s focus has now shifted from food security to nutritional security.

The government has also set a target to double income of farmers by 2022, he added.

“We have great hopes on you (start-ups),” he said, adding that funding would not be a constraint.

Two solutions, at idea stage and ready-market stage, for each problem statement will be shortlisted under the programme.

The idea stage start-ups will get incubation support to go from idea to prototype while the ready market solutions will become part of a market access programme, aimed at easy adoption of their innovation.

Invest India, Villgro, Qualcomm India and ICRISAT are strategic partners for this event.

This is the first time the ministry has taken up such an innovative approach towards crowd sourcing solutions and promoting the start up ecosystem at the same time.

Source:  Times of India

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