It’s a great time for Agritech start-ups although the second wave of Covid-19 is raging on. In fact, the industry is suffering from minimal impact compared to other industries and there is high hope for quick revival from any and all business impact.
Agritech as an industry is untouched by the pandemic for the simple reason being that food is a basic necessity for everyone, despite the circumstances.
Tips for survival of Agritech in the second wave of Covid-19
Go forward with expansion plans despite the second wave of the pandemic. Since Agriculture companies come under the purview of essential commodities, chances are you will face limited hurdles and business impact.
Increase your international footprint
As a survival strategy, Agritech start-ups must focus on increasing their footprint. If domestic footprints are hard to achieve, it’s better to focus on growing your international footprint while India recovers from the second wave.
Identify opportunities in impoverished regions abroad
Farmers abroad, especially in impoverished geographical locales are no doubt faced with similar challenges like farmers back in India. Expand to these international geographies until the second wave abates in India. Thus, you can utilise this time successfully for equating your international footprints with your domestic footprint.
Target hyper-local consumers
Make a repository of direct local consumers and kirana shops in your vicinity. If your Agritech start-up is procuring fresh produce, target these customers. During lockdowns, people will be ready to purchase fresh, healthy produce. This is a good way to improvise and survive the pandemic.
Facilitate access through technology
The fact remains that the pandemic has had a significant impact even on Agritech supply chains. Crop harvests have taken a hit since stock sales have slowed down due to transportation restrictions. In this scenario, your Agri-tech start-up can facilitate access for sales and procurement through technology solutions.
Hydroponic farming is your key to surviving the pandemic as an agri-tech start-up since it’s a hot trend right now. The need for nutritious, homegrown, fresh, chemical free vegetables was felt right from the first wave of Covid-19. Invest in high-tech urban hydroponic systems. (For the uninitiated, Hydroponics is a soilless vertical farming method usually carried out on rooftops and indoor areas). Venture into Hydroponics since its driven by technologies like AI and Data Analytics which reduces cost of production and opens doors for quick scaling.
Innovations are the key to success in the second wave
The FMCG sector is bubbling with opportunities even in the midst of Covid. Come up with innovations to capitalise on these opportunities since innovations are the key to succeeding through the second wave.
Align food distribution strategy with lockdown consumption trends
Agritech as an industry is untouched by the pandemic for the simple reason being that food is a basic necessity for everyone, despite the circumstances. Tweak your food distribution strategy to align it with the lockdown consumption trends.
How Agritech can revive post Covid-19
Plan physical meetings during lockdown
Save in-person contacts to post the second wave. Plan your meetings during the lockdown period, so that you can revive quicker post covid. Plan out your meetings with producers, and farmers. Also, create a roadmap on your logistics. Once lockdowns lift, you can be on your road to recovery, undertake physical travel, meet farmers, and build supply chain links.
Build efficient and sustainable food systems
The aftermath of the second wave is no doubt an opportunity for Agri-tech start-ups to build an efficient and sustainable food system through technology solutions. There’s no better way to revive faster post Covid-19.
Capitalize on rural smartphone penetration
The smartphone penetration which has gone deep into the bowels of rural India combined with high digital adoption is a boon for Agritech start-ups. It will make revival much quicker because you can provide tech-based solutions to resolve the problems of the agricultural community. Since they are already very much digitally savvy, deploying these technology solutions won’t be a challenge.
Vaccination and Agritech in India
People-first industry responsible for vaccinations
Agritech is one unique industry which can achieve a lot in vaccinating people. The farming community makes up for a major chunk of the Indian population. During these trying times, you can take measures as a ‘people-first’ industry to make arrangements for stakeholders.
Organise covid response groups
For instance, you can organise Covid response groups and helplines for farmers. You can also tie up with healthcare providers to make services available for them in remote areas.
Arrange vaccination camps
You could also set up isolation centres, hospitals, and most importantly vaccination camps for stakeholders like farmers and suppliers.
The number of deals that were occurring on a yearly basis in the Agritech industry was tremendous up until 2019. The number of successful funding rounds have no doubt declined due to the first and second waves of Covid-19 in India.
However, the progress of the Industry is still positive compared to some of the other hard-hit sectors. It’s safe to say that Agritech has strong survival opportunities and will come out of the pandemic untouched.
In terms of revival strategies, start-ups that have suffered disruptions can bounce back by working around the restrictions through technology offerings and farmer focused solutions. The rate of technology adoption among the farming community has never been as high as it is now. Start-ups tapping into this need can expect to bag investments easily.