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Agri Ministry Seeks Technology For Agriculture Problems

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

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

Agri-tech start-ups have been asked to find 1. simplified soil testing methods; 2. assaying and grading solution; 3. development of e-marketplace; 4. price forecasting during sowing; 5. last mile information dissemination; 6. yield estimation; 7. sorting and grading of produce; 8. adulteration testing; 9. customer hiring centres; 10. crop residue disposal; 11. prevent pre- and post-harvest losses and 12. enhancing agricultural productivity.

He also said, "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."

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.

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.

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


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