Microsoft-CropData take on MoU to enhance farming in 6 States

100 districts from 6 Indian States have been selected for the one-year pilot initiative by Microsoft and partner firm CropData

April 15, 2021

The activities will take effect in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.

The reduction of input costs, finding long term agriculture financing and increased digital infusion in agricultural planning are priorities.

The rise of Farming-as-a-Service (FaaS) can be expected to bridge the gaps in the current agricultural value chain.

Government portals like the National Agricultural Market (eNAM) as well as appropriate solutions by the startup space can foster growth.

Microsoft today announced their plans to take on a year-long pilot project to enhance the agritech and payments ecosystem in States including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. CropData, a Microsoft partner joins the MoU with the Government of India to work with resources in 100 villages from the above States and look to infuse digitization in the farming process in addition to identifying ways to reduce farming input cost. The signatories of the MoU included Sh Parshottam Rupala, Ministers of State for Agriculture, Sh Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, and Ms Nandini Singh, Managing Director of CropData Technology. 

The agritech space in India is one with immense promise given the potential of Farming-as-a-Service (FaaS) which is touted as the solution to gaps in market access and the mechanization of farming gear. It is expected to help bring down input costs and simplify operations for farmers. The ‘Agritech – towards

Transforming Indian agriculture’ report by EY lists five key roadblocks that exist in the current agriculture value chain : (i) Need for technology access to farmers for the prevention of soil degradation, (ii) Higher wastage and production costs marring the supply chain, (iii) Limited financial resources for small farmers, (iv) Information asymmetry in the case of input costs, (v) Limited facilities for testing of food processing products. Agritech startups are working towards responding to these challenges creatively so as to increase crop output, reduce wastage and bring farmers closer to sustainable financial solutions. AI and scanning technologies are being employed to help farmers detect pests and potential diseases, in addition to planning the farming process. 

Government initiatives like the National Agricultural Market (eNAM)  are also employed to apprise farmers on pricing. The report recommends that grocery chains could play a role in expanding produce procurement into the Direct-from-Farm model. State partnerships with agritech firms could push AI use in the sector for crop cycle planning as well as soil studies. 

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