Since the pandemic, India’s agriculture sector has witnessed a number of changes, both at the policy and the operational level. With the disruption in the supply chain due to the nationwide lockdown, there was a rising demand for many essential and perishable items, like fruits and vegetables, dairy products, fish, etc, leading to a mounting pressure on the supply chain.
The reverse migration prompted the government to announce an increase in its budget for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) by ₹40,000 crore, over and above the existing allocation of ₹61,500 crore. Additionally, the announcement of agricultural reforms, along with the ₹1.5 lakh crore package for agricultural infrastructure that was announced in May—allowing barrier-free interstate trade of farm produce and farmers to engage with large retailers and exporters, and amendments in the Essential Commodities Act—are clear indications that a boost in agriculture, and consequently the rural ecosystem, might be the key to India’s economic recovery. To assist the farmer and to provide high quality produce to consumers, a number of agritech startups have come up with innovative methods of cultivation and supply chain management. We take a look at some of them:
BIJAK: CONNECTING PEOPLE
In April 2019, Bijak was launched as a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for agricultural commodities that connects traders, wholesalers, food processors and farmers. It creates buyer and supplier ratings based on their transaction history to bring transparency and enforce accountability. Besides helping multiple stakeholders in the ecosystem discover each other, Nukul Upadhye, co-founder of Bijak, says, “The platform is also bringing in digitisation of physical mandis, artiyas [commission agents], loaders, and processors by providing them an online interface.” Farmers get access to a mandi-wise list of buyers and suppliers for each of their commodities on the Bijak app, which becomes even more relevant in the wake of the recent farm legislations that throw the sector open to private players dealing directly with farmers.
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