In the Media

India is only at the start of the agriculture technology revolution, says Pablo Erat

  Jul 21, 2020

In an email interaction Zurich based Dr. Pablo Erat , co-founder, Pioneering Ventures says the platform will provide a 360 degrees support solution to farmers and other supply chain partners.

Read more: If you find the article behind a paywall, please read the interaction below that he had with Economic Times.

Broadly, how has technology raised farming standards in India?

“The adaptation of digital technologies, affordable data intelligence and increasing awareness among farmers and other stakeholders has created a unique opportunity for India, to make the food and agriculture supply chain transparent, efficient and demand driven. This goal can only be achieved if the entire chain is comprehensively analysed and then redesigned on the basis of reliable data”.

“While we are already starting to see the potential of technology – including digital tech, biotech and food tech – raising the standards within the food system, we are only at the beginning of a revolution which will fundamentally transform the agriculture and food sector in the years to come. The impact of the various technology initiatives, which have emerged rapidly over the past decade, has not yet reached the ground level at scale. For this to happen, I believe that a platform approach providing multiple farmer-centric solutions will be needed to empower the farming community in a more holistic fashion”

“To unlock the full potential, such platforms should create highly scalable “one-stop shop” solutions for the farmer enabling easy and affordable access to data intelligence, demand aggregation, access to input and output markets and financial services, dissemination of knowledge and good practices, while also transforming interconnected supply chains.”

“In a nutshell, digital technology does not only hold the potential to improve production but also to drive enormous efficiency gains in the entire supply chain by directly matching buyers and sellers in a fully transparent and traceable manner. As a result, buyers can be confident that they will receive their goods reliably and with consistent high quality, while farmers achieve better price realisation and profitability”.

What is the focus of PV in terms of technology? Are you looking for agri-tech startups to invest in?

“The purpose of Pioneering Ventures is to transform the Indian food ecosystem to sustainably provide healthy food to people. We do this by modernizing each element of the value chain and empowering each stakeholder from farmer to consumer. To this end, our strategy is to build a fully integrated agri-food technology platform which provides a 360 degrees support solution to farmers and other supply chain partners. Ultimately, we aim to make the platform available to all players in the sector, as a plug-and-play suite of solutions. This will be the first of its kind collaborative platform for agri-tech players”

“Pioneering Ventures has a sizable technology team with a dedicated focus on building such a fully integrated agri-food technology platform and technology solutions that empower the entire food ecosystem. Over the past years, we have been focusing on the creation of value for the farming community through “farm digitization” including areas such as digital market access, livestock diagnosis, remote crop monitoring, digital farm extension and educational services. We also provide farmers – participating in structured value chains – financing at highly attractive rates. We see a similar opportunity to create substantial value by using technology to transform the untapped micro-insurance industry once sufficient scale has been reached. Through our end-to-end digitization of value chains, we promote a system of full transparency, traceability, information symmetry and robust supply/demand planning.”

“We are a platform company and not an investment fund. However, as a part of our platform strategy, we are open to selectively look at acquisition and strategic partnership opportunities that would help us accelerate the path towards our overall vision of sustainably transforming the food ecosystem.”

Answer to question on the start-ups in agriculture

“Start-up companies are a key driver of innovation within the entire food system. I am particularly pleased to see that the brightest minds in in the country find an increased interest in the sector. I believe the reason for this is a “once in a century” opportunity. Never before have we had such a powerful opportunity to combine the creation of corporate value with a deeper meaning: to protect our planet through a more sustainable use of resources, to offer consumers healthy, high-quality products and to positively influence the lives of millions of farming families, and in doing so contribute to the uplifting of rural India.“

 

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