Agriculture remains the backbone of India’s economy, with over 70% of the population relying on it for their livelihoods. However, the sector faces significant challenges, including soil degradation, water scarcity, and the impacts of climate change. In response, innovative solutions are needed to make agriculture more sustainable and profitable for small and marginal farmers. Krishi Mangal, a scale-up accelerator supported by Cisco India CSR and powered by Social Alpha, is at the forefront of this transformation. In its second edition, the program has supported seven in-revenue agri-tech startups, helping them scale technologies for soil testing, water and crop management, and allied services.

Krishi Mangal: A Catalyst for Innovation
Program Overview
Launched in 2021, Krishi Mangal aims to support agri-tech startups by providing them with comprehensive assistance, including grant funding, piloting opportunities, go-to-market strategies, fundraising guidance, technology refinement, and mentorship from experts. By combining Social Alpha’s innovation curation approach with Cisco’s technological expertise, Krishi Mangal has successfully enabled startups to deploy technologies that support farmers.

Achievements to Date
Since its inception, Krishi Mangal has supported 12 startups and impacted more than 40,000 small and marginal farmers, improving their income and supporting the local economy by generating over 1,000 jobs. The program’s second edition continues this mission by focusing on scaling impactful technologies developed by seven promising startups.

The Second Edition: A Focus on Technological Advancement
The second edition of Krishi Mangal has selected seven startups, each bringing unique solutions to the agricultural sector. Here is an in-depth look at these startups and their contributions:

  1. Proximal Soilsens
    Innovation: NutriSens, the world’s tiniest, most repeatable, and user-friendly soil testing system.

Impact: Proximal Soilsens provides accurate and quick soil test results, enabling farmers to make informed decisions about soil health and nutrient management. With Krishi Mangal’s support, the startup has scaled its operations in Maharashtra by building B2B channel partners and enhancing their ground reach through a micro-entrepreneurship model.

  1. Niyo Farm Tech
    Innovation: User-friendly sprayers designed to reduce drudgery and improve yields.

Impact: Niyo Farm Tech has scaled its model by exploring multiple sales channels, including dealership models, field demonstrations, and digital marketing. These efforts have resulted in improved sales and wider adoption of their sprayers among farmers.

  1. Urdhavam Environmental Technologies
    Innovation: Borecharger, a smart patented borewell recharging technique.

Impact: Urdhavam’s Borecharger revives borewells, providing a reliable water source for farmers. The program has supported the startup in building a new market by selling Borecharger as a service and conducting trials in selected districts of Maharashtra. Additionally, technology improvements have enhanced the effectiveness of the Borecharger.

  1. Dharaksha Ecosolutions
    Innovation: A biotechnology process that converts crop stubble waste into biodegradable packaging material, replacing thermocol.

Impact: Dharaksha Ecosolutions has designed and commissioned an automatic machine, reducing manual work and scaling production capacity by ten times. This innovation not only addresses crop stubble waste but also offers a sustainable alternative to conventional packaging materials.

  1. Animeta Agritech
    Innovation: A digitized end-to-end animal healthcare platform with a disease-diagnosing chatbot and a connected platform for ethnoveterinary products.

Impact: Animeta Agritech has enhanced its reach by setting up 10 clusters in Tamil Nadu, each comprising 100-150 villages. This expansion has increased sales fivefold over the past year, providing farmers with accessible animal healthcare solutions.

  1. Mivipro Products Private Limited
    Innovation: Herboliv+, a bio-liquid made from botanical extracts and natural ingredients that masks crop odor, making it unappetizing to wild animals.

Impact: Mivipro has enhanced its customer reach by setting up clusters in Uttar Pradesh and establishing B2B channels in three additional states. This product helps protect crops from wild animals, reducing losses for farmers.

  1. Capsber Global Agro
    Innovation: Technologies leveraging the microbiome to improve crop yields, food security, decrease carbon footprint, and mitigate soil erosion.

Impact: Capsber has increased product adaptability with farmers by setting up six clusters in Karnataka. These innovations support sustainable farming practices and enhance crop productivity.

Testimonials from Leaders
Harish Krishnan, Managing Director & Chief Policy Officer, Cisco India
“With over 70% of India’s population relying on agriculture, improving farm productivity is crucial for national growth and prosperity, a priority highlighted in recent elections. At Cisco, our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all. Krishi Mangal, our deep tech accelerator program in collaboration with Social Alpha, exemplifies our commitment to supporting small and marginal farmers with technology and innovation, revolutionizing farming practices, making them more profitable and sustainable. We are proud of the agri-tech startups identified through Krishi Mangal and are dedicated to helping them develop products, enhance value propositions, localize solutions, and scale their organizations. Through Krishi Mangal 2.0, we aim to invest in further technology-led innovations to build climate-resilient agricultural practices, significantly improving the lives of marginal farmers and boosting agricultural productivity and climate resilience.”

Manoj Kumar, Founder, Social Alpha
“Smallholder farmers are severely impacted by climate change. They frequently face extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, which damage crops and reduce yields. Water scarcity and soil degradation further threaten their productivity. These farmers often lack the resources and infrastructure to adapt, making them vulnerable to income loss and food insecurity. The unpredictable weather exacerbates their challenges, creating an unstable farming environment and jeopardizing their livelihoods. Innovations in climate adaptation are essential for proactively addressing the impact of climate change and enhancing resilience among these vulnerable communities.”

Impact on the Farming Community
Technological Adoption
The support provided by Krishi Mangal has facilitated the adoption of advanced technologies among small and marginal farmers. These technologies are designed to address critical challenges in agriculture, such as soil health, water management, crop protection, and animal healthcare. By making these technologies accessible and affordable, Krishi Mangal is helping farmers improve their productivity and income.

Economic Empowerment
The accelerator program has generated significant economic benefits for the local farming communities. By enabling the deployment of innovative solutions, Krishi Mangal has helped improve crop yields, reduce losses, and create job opportunities. The program’s focus on building local entrepreneurship models ensures that the benefits of technological advancements are distributed widely within the community.

Environmental Sustainability
The startups supported by Krishi Mangal are contributing to environmental sustainability in agriculture. Innovations such as soil rejuvenation, water conservation, biodegradable packaging, and reduced reliance on chemical pesticides are helping farmers adopt more sustainable practices. These efforts are crucial in mitigating the impact of climate change and preserving natural resources for future generations.

Challenges and Future Directions
Scaling and Replication
While the startups in Krishi Mangal’s second edition have achieved significant success, scaling these innovations to reach a larger number of farmers remains a challenge. Continued support in the form of funding, market access, and technology refinement is essential for these startups to expand their impact.

Policy Support
Supportive government policies can play a crucial role in facilitating the adoption of agri-tech innovations. Policies that incentivize sustainable farming practices, provide financial support to startups, and create an enabling environment for technology deployment are critical for the success of programs like Krishi Mangal.

Continued Innovation
The agricultural sector faces dynamic challenges that require continuous innovation. Krishi Mangal and similar accelerator programs must remain committed to identifying and supporting new solutions that address emerging issues in agriculture. Collaboration between startups, research institutions, and industry stakeholders will be key to fostering ongoing innovation.

Krishi Mangal, supported by Cisco India CSR and powered by Social Alpha, is making a significant impact on Indian agriculture by supporting innovative agri-tech startups. Through comprehensive support, these startups are developing and scaling technologies that address critical challenges in agriculture, improve farmers’ livelihoods, and promote environmental sustainability. As the program continues to grow, it holds the promise of transforming agriculture in India and beyond, ensuring a more resilient and prosperous future for small and marginal farmers

By Admin

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