Bhaskar Save’s farming techniques are quickly gaining prominence across India and abroad. His methods have been featured in articles, short films, lectures, consultations and guest talks, drawing crowds to his organic approach to agriculture.
The Green Revolution’s (GR) success led to technological spillovers yet bypassed poorer regions reliant on rain-fed agriculture. Now, new agribusinesses are working towards filling these gaps.
The Genesis of Producer Companies
Producer companies emerged as a response to the myriad challenges individual farmers face in India. Small and marginal farmers, constituting a significant portion of the rural community, often grappled with limited resources, lack of modern technology, and inadequate market linkage. In this scenario, the concept of producer companies was born.
- Strengthening the Collective: Producer companies work on the principle of collective strength. Farmers pool their resources, both in terms of capital and knowledge, to form a cohesive unit. This collective approach empowers them to negotiate better prices for their produce, purchase reduced-cost inputs, and effectively access government schemes and subsidies.
- Knowledge Sharing: Besides financial benefits, producer companies promote knowledge sharing among farmers. They organize training sessions, workshops, and awareness programs, enabling farmers to adopt modern and sustainable farming practices. This not only enhances crop yields but also promotes ecological sustainability.
Agribusinesses are Changing the Game in India
Agriculture remains India’s economic cornerstone, contributing more than 17 percent of GDP. India can maximize agricultural growth through innovative practices that make farming more profitable for farmers and enhance overall results – this is where agtech comes in; this game-changing technology is revolutionising farming techniques while lifting rural communities and feeding the world.
One effective approach encourages diversification into higher-value commodities, particularly rainfed areas, while providing access to market opportunities like urban centres and export markets through competitive value chains. This can help farmers generate additional sources of income while increasing overall food security and decreasing poverty levels among India’s 170 million rural citizens who still reside below the poverty line.
One solution to increase farmer incomes would be expanding and promoting agro-processing, which can add $95 billion thanks to lower input costs, improved price realization, reduced volatility and alternative income streams. To enable this goal, government reform should include reforming agricultural marketing by eliminating restrictions on commodity sales and stocking limits so agro-processors and large buyers may purchase directly from farms, creating competition and building backward linkages – something some states have already done successfully; more states should follow suit.
Reform and strengthening of agricultural research and extension services is urgently required to provide farmers with access to cutting-edge scientific insights, technologies and tools. There remains much work to do in improving these services that have long been underfunded while remaining dependent upon outdated packages that haven’t been updated in years.
New agribusinesses are creating one-stop platforms that offer farmers products and services to address multiple critical pain points, providing existing companies with access to farmers and start-ups seeking to develop technologies quickly and efficiently.
One area for improvement would be to reduce the shortage of farm labour. One way of doing this might be through incentivizing and encouraging mechanization through state entities or farmer-producer organizations (FPOs). A digital equipment inventory on the block or subdistrict level would also be helpful.
1. They’re Changing the Way Farming is Done
Agribusinesses revolutionizing agriculture in India are using digital tools and mobile phones to connect farmers with markets, information about agricultural inputs, weather forecasts and prices, increasing bargaining power with traders, retailers and exporters who had only previously offered low prices for their produce.
The new players are helping farmers increase crop yields by efficiently using farm machinery, water, fertilizers and other inputs. Their services promote nutritious, healthy food and appeal to consumers while aiding small farmers in diversifying their crop selections and introducing new income-generating activities such as agritourism or microfinance.
Additionally, they’re helping farmers maximize the value of their crops by connecting them to efficient cold chains from farm to fork – helping reduce spoilage rates while helping producers capture higher profits when consumption patterns shift.
India’s population growth has created an increased demand for fruits and vegetables. To meet this rising need, India needs to expand its horticultural farming capacity; investing in cutting-edge technology and improving water efficiency will be required, as well as designing an efficient irrigation system with affordable irrigation schemes.
Another major challenge facing agriculture today is limited water resources, creating competition between industries and domestic users for access. Finding ways to significantly increase water productivity (i.e. more crops per drop) should be explored further, including piped conveyance and better on-farm management practices.
Agribusinesses provide crucial contributions towards an inclusive agriculture sector by empowering women, increasing smallholder farmer numbers and investing in innovative solutions – helping reduce poverty and hunger, supporting economic development and strengthening food security.
Agriculture must form the backbone of an economy and employ many people for it to flourish. Yet, agriculture in India has been beset with low productivity, insufficient household incomes and chronic malnutrition for millions of smallholder farmers. India needs a modernized, resilient, sustainable agricultural model to ensure everyone can access safe, nutritious food year-round and afford their sustenance needs.
2. They’re Changing the Way Food is Produced
As the world population increases, so will demand for high-value agricultural products like meat, dairy and fish, prompting many agribusinesses to diversify into these fields as they foresee significant opportunities for future expansion in these sectors.
These companies are also revolutionizing how farmers work; instead of relying on their resources alone, they enlist local entrepreneurs as partners to manage operations and provide last-mile services, helping agribusinesses scale faster while decreasing the capital investments required. This model is particularly effective in India, where cheap labour and mobile connectivity help fuel its expansion.
India’s farmers have taken to agri-businesses as a source of new opportunities since, until now, there was only limited choice when it came to selling their produce. Now, there are various avenues available to them, and they can get better prices and increase profits due to new opportunities available through these businesses. Furthermore, many provide sustainable cultivation techniques that may help overcome climate change or water scarcity issues hindering productivity.
To achieve this goal, they teach farmers how to grow crops using sustainable and profitable methods, such as no-till farming, renewable energy sources, organic fertilizers and renewable energy technologies. Many new companies require employees to go into the fields to demonstrate how these new technologies work.
Agribusinesses are increasingly important in improving agricultural data quality, particularly for developing countries where collecting reliable statistics on smallholder farms may be challenging. This trend is changing quickly thanks to initiatives like the Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics.
India offers great potential for agribusinesses in India. Their economic crisis has given rise to numerous innovative solutions that may address pressing issues like food shortages and poverty. Over the next several years, businesses will need to face up to unique hurdles specific to Indian agriculture before seeing how well they fare; those that do so successfully could see vast potential unlock.
3. They’re Changing the Way People Eat
As incomes in India increase, so does the demand for fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and other commodities. This rising trend can only be met through revitalizing India’s agricultural sector.
Agribusinesses are capitalizing on this changing landscape by working alongside farmers to develop innovative crops that appeal to changing consumer tastes while using technology to increase crop yields, improve soil health and ensure food safety.
These companies provide farmers with the tools and technology they need to maximize land usage while lowering costs and creating jobs in rural areas. Farmers who once would have found cultivation too costly can now make money through new markets.
As the global and urban populations expand, so will the demand for fresh food. Farmers are exploring innovative methods of producing and marketing crops to meet this rising need for healthy, organic, locally-produced food products. They have begun cultivating more crops such as vegetables, fruits, flowers and micro farms – taking full advantage of urban population expansion – than ever before.
Agriculture in developing countries was traditionally characterized by small-scale subsistence farming practices that required intensive labour to support themselves. To remain competitive in the global marketplace, farmers must move from production models focused on raw materials like grains and fruits to ones emphasising value-added products such as vegetable oils or canned food products.
Farmers in Kenya who grow roses can cultivate them alongside conventional crops on part of their land and sell the surplus bouquets or cut flowers as bouquets to increase profits and production. For this to work effectively, however, a strong cold chain network that safeguards products from farm to consumer must exist.
African agriculture is experiencing a remarkable renaissance. Africa’s Agricultural Renaissance: From Paradox to Powerhouse is an essential guidebook to understanding how increased agricultural investment can transform Africa from poverty and hunger into agricultural-led industrialization. Combining the latest analytical frameworks with carefully chosen regional case studies from Asia, Latin America, and Africa makes this book essential for anyone interested in Africa’s development.
Significance of Agricultural Renaissance in India
The Green Revolution transformed India from a net importer of food grains into a self-sufficient nation, thus alleviating rural poverty.
India must build on this foundation by encouraging educated youth to engage in village life and scientific agriculture, creating jobs while growing the economy, diversifying income sources, and raising living standards.
Increased Food Security
An extensive literature on econometric analysis indicates that agricultural productivity growth exhibits high poverty reduction elasticities (see Appendix 2). For low-income countries, every one percent increase in crop productivity can bring 0.4% reductions in poverty rates.
Farmers increasingly turn away from staple crops to higher-value foods such as vegetables and milk due to strong economic growth that has raised consumer demand for such products. This change in agriculture reflects rising economic prosperity, leading to greater consumer interest in such items.
Agritech has also made it easier for farmers to access capital and market their products – an important step toward ensuring all farmers are getting paid according to the true value of their work, with food security improved accordingly. Furthermore, it increases remittance flows – essential sources of income in rural communities.
India saw faster agricultural production growth in areas with higher education levels among their workforce, possibly because those who received more formal schooling are generally more open to adopting cutting-edge farming technologies.
Indian farmers now have direct access to markets through agtech start-ups, making obtaining small-ticket loans for modern agriculture technologies easier.
Cross-country and time series data studies have identified high poverty reduction elasticities for GR 1. One estimate indicates that each one percent increase in agricultural productivity reduces poverty by 0.4%; GR 2.0 will have even greater effects on poverty reduction, playing an essential role in India’s economic development and meeting its MDGs goals.
Pulses are an affordable source of protein in India, one of the world’s biggest producers, consumers, and importers. Due to the agricultural renaissance in recent decades, their availability has grown considerably while prices have increased so much that poor households cannot afford them anymore.
India faces unique challenges associated with agroclimatic risks and access to high-yield varieties (HYVs). Market access and price transmission remain central concerns.
These difficulties are compounded by inequitable land distribution with unsecure ownership and tenancy rights; high transaction costs associated with accessing factor and product markets; and policies that discriminate against smallholders – factors which have greatly diminished poverty reduction efforts in disadvantaged areas, where high-yielding varieties (HYVs) do not compare favourably to conventional varieties in terms of yield improvement – particularly those relying on irrigation or rainfall-dependent environments.
By the mid-1980s, intensification under GR had prevented new land from being converted to agriculture and reduced greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, freeing marginal lands to provide alternative ecosystem services (58). Unfortunately, water use, soil degradation and chemical runoff from agricultural lands had an adverse effect far beyond their cultivation areas.
Save utilized the widening platforms he had created in his organic paddy fields to grow trees and other high-value crops, as well as following a crop rotation to plant unirrigated pulse legumes after harvesting his organic paddy to improve soil quality by taking advantage of sub-soil moisture levels and atmospheric nitrogen sources.
While COVID-19 affected many businesses and industries worldwide, India’s agritech sector was among the few that flourished unhindered – it now stands ready to change conventional market systems while replacing unsustainable farming practices with more environmentally sustainable practices.
As India develops, nutrition becomes ever more crucial. Merely increasing food production won’t do; people must have access to nutritious foods as part of an overall transformation in how food is produced, distributed and consumed.
Increased agricultural productivity, nutritional quality improvements in diets and reduced hunger/malnutrition require innovative partnerships that bring global research capabilities closer to local needs. National solid agriculture research systems (NARSs) and private investments in low-income environments that support new varieties can drive innovation for sustainable agricultural production.
Save has learned from both Gandhi and Tolstoy that knowledge comes only through experimentation, which informs his unflagging enthusiasm when leading the Gujarat Organic Farming Yatra each summer, with lectures that draw in thousands of farmers interested in natural farming practices.