Nurturing Growth: Agri-Startup Landscape in India and the Challenges Ahead

K. Nirmal Ravi Kumar

Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), Government of Andhra Pradesh, 520034, India

T. Ramesh Babu

Vignan's Foundation for Science, Technology and Research, Andhra Pradesh, 520034, India

Sagar Surendra Deshmukh

School of Agro & Rural Technology, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Assam, 781039, India


Received: 8 April 2024; Received in revised form: 21 June 2024; Accepted: 24 June 2024; Published: 28 June 2024

Copyright © 2024 K. Nirmal Ravi Kumar, T. Ramesh Babu, Sagar Surendra Deshmukh. Published by Nan Yang Academy of Sciences Pte. Ltd.

Creative Commons LicenseThis is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License.


Agri-startups in India are pivotal drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship, addressing critical challenges related to food security, rural livelihoods, and environmental sustainability. These startups leverage advanced technologies, data analytics, and precision farming techniques to enhance agricultural productivity and reduce post-harvest losses, contributing significantly to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Government initiatives such as the “Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development” program, coupled with strategic collaborations with foreign entities, have provided substantial momentum to the agri-startup ecosystem in India. Through this concerted effort, various stakeholders, including Knowledge Partners and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana—Agribusiness Incubators, are actively nurturing and scaling innovative agricultural projects. Regions like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh have emerged as hotspots for agri-startup activity, benefiting from conducive policy environments and robust agricultural infrastructure. The landscape of agri-tech investments in India has seen significant growth, with a notable surge in 2021, reaching $1.18 billion across 66 transactions. Despite a more cautious approach from investors in 2022, the number of transactions increased, indicating sustained interest. The agri-tech sector demonstrates maturity, with a steady investment pipeline and a notable increase in deals surpassing the $5 million threshold. Agri-startups empower smallholder farmers, contributing to SDGs related to food security, poverty alleviation, and environmental sustainability, fostering innovation and sustainability in the agricultural sector. Agri-startups encounter several challenges, viz., limited access to capital, regulatory complexities, and technological limitations, hindering their growth. Pricing issues, market penetration constraints, and investor apathy further impede scalability. Despite these challenges, agri-startups promote environmental sustainability through practices like organic farming and water conservation. Collaborative research, training programs, and alignment with global sustainability trends empower farmers and position agri-startups to capitalize on emerging opportunities in sustainable agriculture markets worldwide.

Keywords: Agri-startups; Agri-preneurship; Agri-ecosystem; Sustainable development goals; Deal-wise investments; Transactions


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