Can Assam become a powerhouse in AgTech?

Priyanka Chakrabarty

Spread the love

Guwahati: Simply put, agri-tech (sometimes agtech), is the application of technology and digital tools to farming. Given the immense challenges faced by farmers across the country, ag-tech companies can go a long way to improve their conditions. As the ag-tech movement quickly sweeps the country, what is the outlook for Assam?

"Assam does not have an ag tech ecosystem as of now", Nitin Singh, Financial Services Specialist at Assam Agribusiness Rural Transformation Project (APART) told Business North East. "States like Karnataka, and Maharashtra, have done well in this aspect. Our own companies, however, have some ways to go."

Agtech firms have been trying to take root in the region, primarily in Guwahati, considered the economic nerve centre of the Northeast. Organizations seeking to raise awareness about the limitless potential of technology in the region include the IIT-Guwahati, the local chapter of the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) and several others.

“Assam is an agricultural-intensive state which is why we have selected the Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture as a domain here", STPI director Vandana Srivastava informed Business North East. "We provide funding worth around Rs 25 lakhs. Whenever there is a technology requirement, we can connect growers to the right kind of mentor, both online and offline. We have launched 32 start-ups here in the sector."

Recently, the IIT-G, in collaboration with EduRade, launched India’s largest remote pilot training organization (RPTO) spread across 18 acres that can fly 9 medium-class drones simultaneously. This organization will also cater specifically to women from self-help groups (SHGs) engaged in agriculture identified by the center. Through its 'Drone Didis' programme, the federal government aims to arm 15,000 SHGs with drones for two reasons - to provide rural women with a source of income and improve irrigation in the fields.

"Since the past three years, IIT Guwahati has been dedicating itself to cultivating innovation and excellence in drone technology services, education, empowering organizations and individuals to emerge as leaders and pioneers in this swiftly advancing field,"  Professor Parameswar K. Iyer, Dean PRBR at IIT Guwahati, said at the launch of the project.

Assam’s Agriculture Minister Atul Bora speaking to the media recently asserted that Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma gives special emphasis to the use of technology for developing agriculture in Assam. "The Assam government aims to promote green sustainable technologies through exploring, generating, and nurturing grassroots innovations", an official told Business North East.

At the same time, the Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services (ARIAS) Society recently launched a challenge urging agtech firms to come forward to apply for funding support of 25 lakhs. 

The integration of technology promises increased productivity, minimized crop losses, and empowers farmers with invaluable data-driven insights. Without a doubt, these technologies are crucial to unlocking a more sustainable, efficient, and resilient agricultural future. Will Assam take the next step and embrace it fully? Time will tell.

ALSO READ: 48 Assam Naval Unit launches empowering program for NCC girl cadets

Priyanka Chakrabarty