Using the right combination of technology and local focus, Indian agritech startups are able to not just impact and improve prices, they are also able to improve the quality of produce.
The Indian silk industry is centuries old, with a rich history. During the old days, silk was a fabric of choice for all sections of society. It was worn by the royals as well as their subjects. Silk was well suited for various climatic conditions of India and it was exported to various countries as well.
The Indian silk industry is valued at over $8 billion currently. The sector got neglected with a lack of focus from successive governments to help sericulture practitioners. As a sector, it is complex, diverse, and has multiple stakeholders. These complexities and the lax view towards imports of foreign silk have devalued the presence of Indian silk in our own markets. There is very little technological intervention at the grassroots level and this has led the sector to stagnate and produce sub-standard output.
Technology in Agriculture – Agritech
Technology is driving massive change in Indian agriculture. We are seeing great adoption which has directly impacted millions of farmers across the country. Technology has the ability to scale and pivot as per the requirements of its users. This has given a significant advantage to companies that are dealing with complex ecosystems, supply chains, and diverse products.
Using the right combination of technology and local focus, Indian agritech startups are able to not just impact and improve prices, they are also able to improve the quality of produce. This has a direct impact on the livelihoods of farmers and also improves the standard of food consumed by the masses. With technology, they are able to increase production per acre, decrease the use of pesticides, improve the utilization of water, solve logistical problems, and many more such interventions.
Sericulture and Agritech
Indian sericulture can be massively impacted by the use of the right technology, at the right time. As it is, sericulture in India is a highly traditional craft, done for generations and with a diverse set of practitioners, who have little or no adoption of technology.
India is the world’s largest consumer of silk and is the second-largest producer of raw silk. There are various reasons for this position we are in. The gap between numbers one and two is big. On the positive side, with the use of technology, this position can be changed, easily and make India ‘atmanirbhar’ in silk.
One of the best ways they can be done is by providing sericulture requirements, input, marketplace access, and logistics in a consolidated manner. The best way to enable this is with an application that is easy to use and solves these problems by plugging into a core technology platform that enables the above-mentioned objectives. Applications bring a lot of transparency to supply chains and ease processes. It is easy to provide solutions such as fintech and scientific advisories via an app.
Internet of Things
IoT can be used in various situations in sericulture. It can help in crop monitoring for mulberry farms and assisting farmers with precise information and advisory. It can help in disease detection and control, thus massively impacting production.
For sericulture, the rearing of silkworms is a major step in the process. This is done in a controlled environment. IoT devices can help significantly here. They can monitor and advise farmers to adjust essential parameters within rearing sheds. This improves the quality of cocoons produced as well as eliminates diseases. The investment that will go into these devices is minimal but the impact they have can be far-reaching. It can help in improving cocoon quality and quantity, decrease disease prevalence and hence improve farmer livelihoods.
Quality is a crucial aspect of the silk supply chain. Farmers do not have access to easy and efficient testing processes. Applications can help solve this. Another significant technological process that can be used is AI/ ML. By using AI/ ML models to ascertain the quality of cocoons and yarn, practitioners can get scientific results. Data is also collected which can make these models stronger and reliant over a period of time.
Coupled with enabling safer financial transactions via apps, logistics tracking, and easy access to scientific advisories, technology can be a massive boost to the Indian sericulture industry. Technology gives users a fair chance at getting the right price, improve their production value and assist in various aspects of their production process. This is the need of the hour to make India ‘atmanirbhar’ in silk.
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