Tech Solutions for Agri Challenges: Transforming Indian Agriculture with Innovation

Indian innovations, including many backed by MIF, are spearheading the transformative change needed in global agriculture.

By Marico Innovation Foundation May 21, 2024 | 6:34 AM

The Indian agriculture sector plays a pivotal role in the nation’s economy, employing over 60% of the population and contributing 18% to the GDP. Despite its significance, farmers encounter numerous challenges, including arid land, water scarcity, insufficient irrigation, and fragmented land holdings. 

To surmount these hurdles, India’s agricultural sector is increasingly embracing modern technological solutions such as precision farming, digital platforms, Internet of Things (IoT), and biotechnology. These techniques and tools promise not only to boost productivity but also to reduce resource consumption and ensure food security for a growing population.

How MIF is Catalysing Innovation in India’s Agri-Tech Space

Launched in 2016, Scale-Up is our no-equity accelerator initiative, tailored to provide in-depth personalised mentorship to for-profit startups addressing crucial challenges in India’s plastic waste management, clean technology, and agri-technology sectors. The program aims to propel groundbreaking innovations from their early-stage annual revenues (approximately one crore annually) to achieving an impressive milestone of INR 100 crore in annual revenues within three to five years.

One noteworthy participant in the Scale-Up program, S4S Technologies, an agri-tech innovator and India’s exclusive full-stack food-processing platform with a solar-powered dehydration system, joined the initiative in 2019. However, the firm encountered challenges ranging from packaging inefficiencies to expanding manufacturing capacities and transitioning from a business-to-consumer (B2C) model to a business-to-business (B2B) model. With the guidance of our strategic and functional mentors, S4S not only overcame these challenges but also attained an annual revenue of INR 100 crores.

Other Success Stories From MIF’s Agri-Tech Portfolio At Scale-Up

UrbanKisaan is revolutionising agriculture by offering a transformative solution for regions with limited arable land and challenging farming conditions. Their proprietary technology harnesses advanced hydroponic systems to cultivate a variety of vegetables, greens, and herbs in tropical urban environments. Moreover, their unique growing techniques save up to 95% more water than traditional farming. Recently, the company ventured into a joint venture to expand its business in the UAE, further broadening its global reach.

New Leaf Dynamic Technologies specialises in setting up biomass-powered cold rooms for safe storage, pre-cooling, ripening, and dehydration of perishable produce. Their technology reduces cooling costs, requires zero maintenance, and emits zero ozone-depleting substances. For every installation of New Leaf’s units each year, stakeholders have saved up to 42,000 kWh in energy and prevented 40,000 kilos of CO2 emissions. With approvals to implement projects in Nairobi and exporting their machines to Thailand, they are leaving an indelible mark on the global agricultural landscape.

EF Polymer Private Limited has developed a revolutionary solution with its primary product, an organic and absorbent agricultural polymer. This product enhances soil water retention, crop yield and growth, soil fertility, and reduces nutrient leaching. Through EF Polymer, agri-stakeholders have conserved approximately 200 million litres of water, preserved 50,000 trees, and recycled 100 tons of bio-waste. Recently, EF Polymer expanded its business operations across Japan and the United States.

By adapting locally and collaborating with regional partners, Indian agri-tech innovations have the potential to significantly influence global agriculture, particularly in regions facing similar challenges. With pointed mentorship and strategic interventions, MIF is committed to catalysing this innovation ecosystem for large-scale and long-lasting impact on global agriculture. 

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