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Union Budget 2023: FM sows digital public infrastructure plan for agriculture

Union Budget 2023: To further boost startups sprouting out of rural areas, Sitharaman also said the government will launch an agriculture accelerator fund for young entrepreneurs.

Mumbai / February 01, 2023 / 12:07 PM IST
Union Budget 2023 Agritech (Representative image)

Union Budget 2023 Agritech (Representative image)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on February 1, announced that the government will build a digital public infrastructure for the agriculture sector which will work as an open-source digital public good that will support growth for agritech industry and startups, in her Union Budget 2023 speech.

“This will enable inclusive farmer-centric solutions through relevant information services for crop planning and help improve access to farm input, credit, and insurance, help for crop estimation, market intelligence and support for the growth of agritech industry and startups,” the FM added.

This comes after the government highlighted that agritech startups in India assist farmers in improving farming techniques in the Economic Survey on January 31.

To further boost startups sprouting out of rural areas, Sitharaman also said the government will launch an agriculture accelerator fund for young entrepreneurs.

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This also comes after the government noted a spike in private equity (PE) investments in agritech over the past four years in the economic survey at a time when the rising demand for quality food, and macro tailwinds like climate change and food security concerns trigger renewed investor interest in the nascent sector.

According to the survey, the increase in private equity investments aggregates about Rs 6,600 crore annually.

"With the Union Budget 2023, the Centre has continued their strong focus on improving farmer incomes. The concrete provisions for boosting high-value crops and allied sub-sectors with significant budget outlay are most welcome. Finally, the agritech sector will benefit hugely from open-source digital public agri infrastructure as well as from the promised Agricultural Accelerator Fund," said Mark Kahn, managing partner, Omnivore.

Moneycontrol earlier reported how with private equity and venture capital investors shifting focus towards profitability, biggies in sectors like edtech, e-commerce, and fintech – the poster boys of 2021’s startup bash, had to take a step back to re-evaluate their strategies and align themselves to the fundamentals.

Meanwhile, for the agritech ecosystem that witnessed valuations shooting up and continued funding with unwavering investor interest, there seems to be no end to the party.

“It is encouraging to see the Union Budget 2023 be a pro-farmer budget, placing focus on technology’s role in farming. The newly announced agriculture accelerator fund and the digital public infrastructure empowers and democratises the Indian agri ecosystem (startups, businesses, farmers, etc) to work more collaboratively and find farmer-centric solutions together. We are confident that this Union Budget 2023 lends an impetus for greater adoption of technology & data in Indian farming,” said Shailendra Tiwari, founder of agritech startup, Fasal.

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Mansi Verma
Mansi Verma
first published: Feb 1, 2023 11:55 am