Welcome Guest

Businessex.Com

Strict Standards: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/franchis/public_html/entrepreneur/entrepreneur/templates/InterviewDetail_tpl.php on line 7
Home Interviews Start Up  Non Techpreneur  Agripreneurs in India need long term visibility of fund: Ashutosh K. Sinha, Villfarm

Agripreneurs in India need long term visibility of fund: Ashutosh K. Sinha, Villfarm

Ashutosh Sinha highlights the challenges that today agriculture start-ups are facing in India.

Tags: Indian agriculture, agriculture startups, Villfarm, Omnivore, Unitus, Aaviskaar

BY Aparajita Choudhury | January 13, 2015 | COMMENTS ( 0 ) |

Agripreneurs in India need long term visibility of fund: Ashutosh K. Sinha, Villfarm
Ashutosh K. Sinha Co-founder & Director, Villfarm

Agripreneurs in India have the limited ability to invest and scale up their business. Therefore, they need longer term visibility of fund to build the team and collate necessary resources required. Moreover, incubators and mentors need to appreciate the complexity and ground reality to help start-ups develop business models.

In an interaction with Entrepreneur India, Ashutosh Kumar Sinha, Co-founder & Director, Villfarm Agrisolutions Private Limited, highlights the challenges that today agricultural start-ups are facing in the country and how it can be resolved only with the help and intervention of the government bodies, incubators and VCs:

What kind of challenges agricultural start-ups are facing in India today?

Owing to the huge productivity gaps and large market size, agricultural start-ups have one of the biggest potential in India. But agriculture is a multiple operations enterprise, where about 10 different operations starting from soil preparation to storage and transport contribute to overall productivity and profit. This makes agriculture a complex system for start-ups to target. The big ticket operations like seed, irrigation, chemicals and machineries are dominated by big players and it requires large investments.

So the biggest challenge for start-ups is to target right area of the agricultural operations. Incubators and mentors need to appreciate the complexity and ground reality to help start-ups develop business models considering these aspects critically.

Agriculture start-ups also need longer term visibility of fund (at least 3 years) to be able to build team for the business. Funding is normally not available for team building for early start-ups as it does not match valuation and risk perception. Even if funding is committed, entrepreneurs are left with so little stake in the venture that it becomes non-remunerative for them.

What kind of supportive role the government bodies are playing in terms of providing the eco-system and incubation support to agripreneurs?

NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) - DST (Department of Science and Technology) and the government support to private incubators in recent time has been of great help. As most of the agripreneurs have very limited ability to invest, government support is crucial not only for product development and proof of concept, but also for initial operations before these enterprises look to raise commercial investment.

Currently, agripreneurs are trying to raise commercial investment too soon, which makes the enterprise unattractive for entrepreneurs in terms of wealth creation. Technology access is still very low and the government need to be more supportive. Incubators, agricultural universities, CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) labs, engineering institutions, chemical laboratories and biotechnology labs need to collaborate more.

ICAR (Indian Council for Agricultural Research) can become a nodal agency for technology licensing. Agriculture needs application of technology from almost all scientific streams and agripreneurs are not sure where to look. Incubations centres set up by agricultural universities and institutions like ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) are also providing helping hand to agripreneurs. Initial, collateral free low interest loans to the tune of Rs 50 lakh should be made easily available to agripreneurs.

Illiteracy is considered as a matter of concern in slow agricultural growth. How do you help the farmers to overcome this challenge?

Farmers are illiterate but not uneducated. Literacy is also increasing rapidly. So, illiteracy will not be a hindrance in the next 10-15 years. But for now, providing information via pictures and voice messages can be of great help. This method of messaging will remain preferred way of consumption of information even after achieving 100 per cent literacy. Mobile device based videos, interactive advisory, phone (voice) based advisory and local TV transmissions can be other effective means which are relevant today and will remain effective in future as well.

What is the contribution of this sector in India’s GDP?

Agriculture contributes 15-16 per cent of GDP by way of current definitions and calculations. But if we take into account agricultural raw materials, then their contribution will be 30-40 per cent of the GDP. On consumption basis, almost 50 per cent of household expenditure (rural + urban) are on food. So, even after allowing for saving rates etc., agriculture's contribution to GDP should be 30-40 per cent. This is too important a sector in India in terms of GDP and labour employment and it will remain so for foreseeable future.

What is the adoption rate of mobile and internet technologies in agriculture sector? To what extent, the usage of technologies has modernised this sector?

Tele density (Mobile phones) is high in rural areas and is sufficient to reach to almost all farming households. But data usage are much lower compared to urban India (it's less than one fourth of urban India). Smartphone sales and pre paid data card sales are showing encouraging trends in rural India.

Almost one third of all smartphones are sold in rural India now. Adoption of internet technology is not an issue now, the issue lies in consumption. Cost, speed and contents are three major hurdles at this point in time. Cost and speed pose lesser hurdle considering expansion of 3G network and falling price coupled with farmer's willingness to pay for useful information.

Content is a big miss and if suitable content is developed, adoption and consumption will increase exponentially. Content is a big start-up idea as well and is much easily scalable than many other agriculture ideas.

How agricultural start-ups are leveraging cloud services?

Usages of cloud services by agriculture start-ups are much lesser than other start-ups. The use for cloud based ERPs are focussed in running operations. Many start-ups are too small to even need cloud support for their operations. For on field work in villages, either network or content is missing or unrealisable for meaningful use of cloud services. But this is showing better adoptions. With many small cloud start-ups coming up with targeted and specific services, this will grow substantially over the next 3 to 5 years.

Do investors see potential in agricultural start-ups?

Yes. Few agriculture focussed investors like Omnivore are actively looking at agriculture start-ups and other social investors like Unitus, Aaviskaar, etc, are also very active. But at this point in time, the clarity as where to invest is still in the development stage.

Investors are more comfortable investing in a product or technology company, which they consider as significant differentiator, quick to scale and disproportionate value creator. But agriculture enterprises also need to be in service, channel etc., which are low on priority for commercial investors. Hence, many of the promising start-ups, which are not product and technology start-up, find it difficult to raise money. Also, the valuation and funding size need innovative approaches.

Does the agricultural sector in India create opportunities for budding entrepreneurs?

There is no doubt about it. But this is a complex business ecosystem and there are multiple dependencies. It requires much longer term focus than others, especially tech start-ups. People need staying power in this sector to create a scalable business. Opportunities are huge, but the ecosystem of entrepreneurs and investors who understand this sector is still developing.

Please add your comment

Rating  
Not readable? Change text.

Enter the characters as seen on the image (case insensitive)
  Notify me of followup comments via e-mail   Subscribe for daily newsletter

Related Interviews

Lack of speed, execution is a sure shot killer for start-ups: Livspace's CEO Anuj Srivastava

Anuj Srivastava, CEO, Livspace

Bet it an entrepreneur, early-stage investor or a product manager, Anuj Srivastava does not have to do too many different things to play...

Flintobox: A box full of toys to set your kids' imagination soaring

Arunprasad Durairaj, Co- Founder and CEO, Flintobox

Today’s generation has no time to play. They are burden under the bulky textbooks from the beginning of their school life, leaving...

Edutor is more of a tech company than a content company: Co-founder Ramesh Karra

Ramesh Karra, Co-founder, Edutor Technologies

Edutor Technologies, a next gen EdTech solution, has introduced an Android-based solution on a platform called IGNITOR, which offers...

How Hippocampus is making pre-school education affordable for rural India

Umesh Malhotra, founder CEO, Hippocampus Learning Centres

During the 9 years’ stint at Infosys in US, Umesh Malhotra lived in the Bay Area of California with his wife and five year old son....

Hindustan Wellness: A comprehensive solution for all health and wellness needs

Siddharth Sangwan, Founder, Hindustan Wellness

The concept of a 360-degree preventive healthcare model as a viable business idea had been playing in Siddharth Sangwan’s mind for...

Looking for budget travel? YatraGenie serves as a one-stop-shop for travellers

Renil Komitla, founder, YatraGenie

Armed with an inherent knack for keen observation and market intelligence, Renil Komitla ventured into e-commerce via the launch of...

Govt policies for start-ups are stimulant for better growth: Yogesh Agarwal, Applane Solutions

Yogesh Agarwal, CEO, Applane Solutions

Applane Education is a Cloud ERP that helps educational institutions to automate their processes and thus, enables them to focus on...

How Smartican is changing the landscape of social media

Aastha Almast, Co-founder & CMO, Smartican (2nd from Left)

Founded in January 2013, Smartican is a youth oriented Digital Social Media, Game Development and Entertainment Company. Initially...

Looking for original luxury sedan parts? SparesHub.com ends your search

Tapas Gupta, Co-founder, SparesHub.com

The automobile spare parts replacement market in India is very large, complex and unorganised. The current size of the components...

It's a space age! Startup Dhruva set to privatise India's satellite industry

Sanjay Nekkanti, CEO, Dhruva Space

‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.’ – The popular phrase hold true for 25 year old...

QuizWorks' brand PlayDay using gamification to accelerate enterprise growth

Raj Dam, Founder, PlayDay

Do you think playing games at workplace is unproductive? Think again. Nowadays, more businesses are using gamification tools to train...

Gigstart: Here is your online party organiser

Atit Jain, Co-founder, Gigstart

Gigstart is a marketplace which facilitates quick and transparent connect between entertainers and party planners. It is first of its...

Ecolibrium Energy thrives on more than 100% YoY growth

Chintan Soni, CEO, Ecolibrium Energy

India has perennially been a power starved country with still 400 million of citizens not having access to power. Constant black-outs and...

Why Shrenik Gandhi quit Future Group to start his own venture

Shrenik Gandhi, CEO, White Rivers Digital

White Rivers Digital is India’s one of leading ROI driven digital agency that provides holistic communication strategies to take...

Kapil Agarwal's bootstrapped start-up UrbanHomez looks to clock Rs 5 cr next year

Kapil Agarwal, Founder & CEO, UrbanHomez.com

UrbanHomez is one of India’s largest online portals for Home Renovation, Design and Décor. It makes hassle free connection...

How Rahul Agarwal plans to build Organic Harvest into a Rs 100 cr venture

Rahul Agarwal, CEO, Organic Harvest

The 31-year-old Rahul Agarwal was an integral part of the highflying world of finance until an entrepreneurial bug bit him. Who would...

If you can dream it, you can do it

Saurav Modi, Founder, Just Jute Products

Like many other aspiring students, Saurav Modi, soon after his post graduation from Christ College, Bangalore, chose to pursue his career...

From a Village School Boy to a Serial Entrepreneur

Krishna Srinivasan, Founder & Chairman, Quest Explore Discover (QED)

Being a son of a village school headmaster, Krishna Srinivasan completed his education from a government school in Trichy. He has...

Witnessing 50-60% growth YoY: Saraogi

Vinit Saraogi, Managing Director, TBD Tradelink

The will to run and grow their own business has taken Vinit (Left) and his brother Bipin Saraogi (Right) quite far. From supplying sweets...

A Taxi Network for All India

Anshuman Mihir, Founder & CEO, MyTaxiIndia

Having the largest taxi rental network across India and with presence in more than 100 cities and connectivity with 48...

Toying With Growth

Sharad Venkta, MD & CEO, Toonz Retail India

Sharad Venkta, MD & CEO, Toonz Retail India, shares the growth path, success through franchising model and more in a chat with...

Innovate and Execute to Survive

Rajendra Rao, Founder, U-Wah Solutions & Co-Founder Madea Creative House

In a tete-a-tete with SMEntrepreneur, Rajendra Rao, Founder, U-Wah Solutions and Co-Founder Madea Creative House, shares his story about...

"Current State of This Market is Extremely Promising"

Sanjeev Mahajan, CEO, Enhance Clinics

Tell us about Enhance. What types of services are provided by your clinic?  Enhance is India’s fastest growing chain of...

Including the Financially Excluded

Ashish Ahuja, Vice President, FINO PayTech Ltd

In an interview with SMEntrepreneur, Ashish Ahuja, Vice President, FINO PayTech Ltd, talks about branchless banking services reaching out...

Cashing in on Car-Sharing

Greg Moran, Co-Founder, Zoomcar.in

How this concept of car-sharing rental service came to your mind? We both were big believers in the car-sharing business model that...

Adding Value to Walls

Mihir Mody, Founder and CEO, Adwallz

Wall posts now have a new address. From the over used online space, the brick and mortar counterpart is now an interesting canvas for...

Changing Indian Trading

Rohit Gadia

Rohit Gadia, CEO and Managing Director, CapitalVia Global Research Limited, turned his passion for stock market into his profession. He...

Teaching for understanding

Divesh Bhatija

Imagine being taught by someone who does not have an opinion about how dumb or smart you are. Imagine understanding everything you learn...

Passion is the key to success

Kanwar Singh

What led to the inception of Synergy Motors? Synergy Motors is about providing premium car rental services for customers who want to...

An eye for research

Vishal Oberoi, CEO, Market Xcel

In a chat with us, Vishal Oberoi, CEO, Market Xcel, gives the lowdown on his company that is enagegd in Research so as to give best...

Entrepreneurial touch

Chetan Indap, CEO, Joule Consulting PVt Ltd

Guy Kawasaki, in his book, ‘Rules for Revolutionaries’, had stated that “People who are crazy enough to think that they...

Restaurant for classy marriages

Zuzer Lucknowala, MD, The Wedding Cafe & Lounge

Smitten by the idea of wedding theme based restaurants in the west while globe- trotting, Zuzer Lucknowala decided to introduce his...

Propelling SME Growth

Pooja Kumar, Founder, SME JoinUp

With a strong urge to build something of value for the SME sector, Pooja Kumar created SME JoinUp. We catch up with her to know about her...

Zooming success

Manoj Gursahani , MD< Manoj Gursahani Vamoose.in

The Vamoose.in website is based on an e-commerce platform developed by renowned European technology company 'EL Media Global'. It...

Business of Loyalty and Gift Cards

Nikhi Dhoka, Director, Unit Solutions

If you want a Loyalty Programme and Card System but do not know where to get the technology, Unit Solutions will show you the direction....

Gems of Jewellery Industry

Praveen Goel, CEO, Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers

Praveen Goel, who excelled in gold import and manufacture of loose diamonds, set up his first retail outlet in Karol bagh which in less...

The Forgotten Heros: Vimanika Edutainment Pvt. Ltd.

Karan Vir Arora, Vimanika Comics

Comics are everyone’s favourite but not many think of publishing them. Vimanika Edutainment Pvt Ltd brings out comics about the...

Connecting Farmers to Consumers

Rajiv Kumar Chugh, Founder, 4 Fresh Retail

4 Fresh brings best quality produce directly from the cultivators to the consumers. The company has tied up with around 5000 farmers all...

Transforming Data to Intelligence

Rajesh Varrier, Founder, Activecubes

Activecubes provides analytics services with associated technology solutions, empowering clients to make the best...

Creating Niche Knowledge Solutions

Sumeet Anand, Founder, Kreeo

While Google and Bing rule the world of ‘search’, Kreeo has a further more specialized offering for information...

Stay fit, the Life Mojo way

Namit Nangia, Founder, Life Mojo.

Namit Nangia who was able to reduce his weight successfully thought of sharing the idea with other people, officially. Hence, he came out...

De-Congestion Drive

Abhishek Rajan, Co- Founder, Easy2Commute.com

In their endeavor to de-congest Delhi roads and provide safe carpooling to Delhiites, Abhishek and Ambrish Co-founded Easy2Commute.com a...

Advertising through all possible avenues

Maninder Singh Sethi, Founder, Excelsior Public Relations

Maninder Singh Sethi, the Founder of Excelsior Public Relations always wanted to leverage various mediums to market and advertise a...

Minding others businesses

Hemang Arun Pandeet, MD & CEO of SiddhiVinayak Astrology Services Pvt. Ltd

Astrology as a concept has existed since time immemorial, but professionalism was never a part of it until Hemant Arun Pandeet arrived at...

The Hub of Masterminds

Mr. Sitashwa Srivastava, Co-founder, CreADivity

Jade Magnet (earlier known as CreADivity) is a crowd sourcing platform for creative services. First-of-its-kind in India, it is an...

Free Copies

Harsh Narang, Founder, PhokatCopy

What is the biggest woe of students? A small amount of pocket-money that gets exhausted getting photocopies! Solution? Harsh Narang,...

By Women, For Women

Revathi Roy, Founder, For-She Travels & Logistics

She started her company when she was in greatest pain, suffering from the bereavement of her husband. She was hardly left with any...

Helping relocate

Abhilash BP, CEO MM Group

Abhilash BP, CEO of MM Group, found a business idea from one of the most common problems that existed for a long time. The solution that...

Pioneering New Media

Aditya Basu, founder of Xtreme Television

Aditya Basu, founder of Xtreme Television, would not have succeeded in his venture had he not decided to stick to it come what may. Today...

Scrumptious Ice Creams

Vijay Arora, MD, Gelato Vinto

With a dream of serving Indian food buffs with mesmerising flavour of Italian desserts, Vijay Arora, Managing Director, Gelato Vinto in...

In good health

Sachin Malik, Founder, Diva Fitness

Understanding the different fitness requirements of women and providing them the right solutions of dealing with weight loss, Diva...

The childcare people

Bharat Kapoor, Director, Your Kids R Our Kids

You need not worry about your kids when you are away as Your Kids R Our Kids (YKROK) care centre provides your child the desired quality...

Connecting the Young

Samyak Chakrabarty, Managing Director, Electronic Youth Media

Samyak Chakrabarty might look like any other student when sitting in the mass media class of Jaihind College but his accomplishments...