State of Agrifood Tech - 30th August 2023
In Today’s Edition:
Indian agritech is narrowly focused on the 50 million full-time middle-class farmers that we have forgotten to see the elephant in the room.
1/ Rough Field Guide to Implementing Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) in Indian Agriculture
What does it take for DPI and DPG to address the problems that bedevil Indian Agriculture? To unlock the potential of DPI and DPG in smallholding contexts, it’s important to understand the subtle yet vital difference between tools and infrastructure. Thank goodness! There is a lovely German word for that: Nutzungsoffenheit.
2/ Making Sense of ITC’s Matryoshka Agritech Gameplay (courtesy their recent AGM)
Understanding ITC, the ‘largest procurer of agri commodities in the private sector, sourcing 4.5 million tonnes across 20 value chains in 22 States’ and its agritech gameplay. Why do well-built agritech gameplays in smallholding contexts look like matryoshka dolls? What are the four stages of the evolution of eChoupal? How to make sense of the ITCMAARS phygital ecosystem?
There are more agricultural labourers than farmers in India today. Where are the agritech startups that can reskill these migrant agricultural labourers? Where are the agritech startups that can create the IT labour arbitrage equivalent that lifted thousands of middle-class Indian homes from poverty during the 90s? In my research, I came across a few startups that help cargo drivers acquire better logistics skills and migrate to foreign countries.
Where is the agritech startup equivalent that can provide technological training to labourers of this country and help them migrate as agricultural labourers with better pay benefits?
As Harish Damodaran had astutely pointed out in his analysis, we have 50 million full-time middle-class farmers and the remaining 100 million are part-time farm labourers +/farmers with unpaid labour provided by the women and elderly in the household.
Today, Indian agritech is so narrowly focused on these 50 million full-time middle-class farmers that we have forgotten to see the elephant in the room. Can we see the elephant in the room?
1/ Rough Field Guide to Implementing Digital Public Infrastructure in Indian Agriculture
Riding on the success of the UPI payment stack, Digital Public Infrastructure packs a lot of promise. For DPIs to unlock value for farmers in an Indian agricultural context, it has to tackle three fiendishly complex challenges that would probably make AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) computational problems child’s play in comparison.