The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way a lot of businesses function. It has affected various sectors within the agricultural industry as well. Daily wage earners and labourers working in farms are essentially out of jobs and are migrating back to their hometowns. The supply chain has been disturbed on a massive level and steps are being taken to appropriately rectify them. The prices of agricultural produce has dropped by 20% which is a major cause for concern.
The AgTech industry has also been hit to an extent, due to less business coming in and declined demand for their services in the coming month. AgTech is a vast field and will be able to assist their clients and farmers as well in the approaching months to streamline processes and enable the smooth functioning of the agricultural supply chain. A few ways in which the AgTech industry can be a key player post-COVID-19 are listed below:
- Due to ‘work from home’ being an adaptable situation for companies in the AgTech sector, they will be able to assist their clients in keeping their systems working 24/7 and ensuring regular updates on all platforms. Using front running techniques like satellite imagery they will be able to assist individuals looking for specificities of crops, i.e, how much, where, conditions, etc. They may also use this technique to enable the tracking of transportation to ensure the people who require the products receive it.
- An online supply chain would be the most ideal platform to be established, which the AgTech sector is working towards at a fast pace. This would backtrack most of the losses faced by the agricultural industry due to the disruptions witnessed in the agricultural supply chain. This would include the supply of products through varied online portals, which would be a boon for individuals who require groceries delivered directly to their homes, without the need to venture outside. The reality of individuals not venturing outdoors will increase the demand for products being supplied via online portals. This can be observed through the growth of E-Commerce websites such as Big Basket and Grofers. Food delivery apps like Zomato and Dominos (in collaboration with ITC) have also set up ‘essential’ columns where essential and daily groceries can be delivered directly to consumers.
- In times of uncertainty, where individuals are extremely wary of the products which are entering their homes, technology establishes a sense of transparency due to traceable features. A software like FarmERP, a smart agriculture management ERP software platform, works towards establishing traceability and food safety among its various other goals. Similar organizations work tirelessly toward guiding their workflow in similar directions to ensure every entity comes out of COVID-19 with the minimal possible losses.
These are just a few ways in which the AgTech industry can help in certain scenarios related to the losses incurred due to this pandemic. Apart from these, in the broader picture, there can be many other ways in which they will be able to contribute effectively, including contribution to sustainability, food safety, traceability and climate resilience as well. These factors are still at large when it comes to the agricultural industry, not solely in India, but across the world. While counteracting the losses faced due to the COVID-19, AgTech companies such as FarmERP will also work toward curbing the issues in the agricultural industry related to the aforementioned factors.