The demand for protein-rich poultry is burgeoning in India. It is considered one of the fastest-growing sectors even when the country was hit by the exacerbating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to recent estimates – the Indian animal husbandry market reached a valuation of INR 930 billion in 2020 and it is projected to further grow at a CAGR of 6.6% during the 2021 to 2026 period. Animal husbandry includes the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock and obtains broiler meat, eggs, buffalo meat, sheep/goat meat, wool, etc. In India, the per capita consumption of meat is low. On the other hand, B2B and B2C consumers are gradually shifting towards hygienically processed meat.
Considering the anticipated growth of the sector, many agri-tech startups are coming forward to revitalize the institutional farm setups and address the challenges for seamless sector development. In the pre-digital period, it was exigent for farmers to set up animal husbandry or aquaculture farmers due to huge capital requirements and challenges associated with procuring input materials. Presently, the market of input materials is highly unorganized and unaddressed. There is a limited number of registered hatcheries and the majority of farmers have to deal with middlemen to procure input materials.
Procurement of input materials
With the integration of technology, agri-tech startups are harnessing the potential of Artificial Intelligence to help animal husbandry and aquaculture farmers in procuring input materials. Presently, there is a lack of consistency in the supply of live input materials to the farm. Additionally, farmers pay a huge premium due to the lack of transparency in pricing. As a result, the value chain is plagued by disruptions in the supply chain. With the availability of AI-powered platforms, agri-tech startups integrate the grower and trader ecosystem. Apps and platforms featuring input materials deliver quality material at the farmer’s farmgate, boasting a variety of species, products,and price discovery. As a result, new-age animal husbandry and aquaculture farmers get transparency on the value chain by eliminating intermediaries and other middlemen.
Digitally-driven livestock management
Traditionally, livestock management was limited to running the business of poultry farms and other livestock-related tasks. However, the term has expanded with advancements in technology and complexities in managing each task with accuracy including financial record keeping, supervising operations, ensuring care, and feeding of animals on time. Technology has revamped the world of livestock management. The adoption of digitally-driven solutions has made improvements in the industry and made tracking and management of livestock much easier. For instance, agri-tech
startups have developed sensors to install in poultry farms to provide real-time monitoring of the quality of produce and the health of the animals.
Increased efficiency and farmers’ income
Technology has become a crucial part of agriculture. From marketing the produce to ordering input materials, technology plays a substantial role in helping farmers sustain in a multifunctional economy and strict market reforms. New-age farmers adopting digitally-driven solutions to implement farms that can be set up with the existing operations of the crop, with minimum space and labour requirement. This contributes to making an additional income for the farmer by putting their asset to use and broadening their agricultural practices for a dynamic market. Similarly, agri-tech startups are harnessing the potential of technology in helping the farmers sell their produce at a highly profitable and fair price. Additionally, they also improve the accessibility of credit at low-interest rates for farmers. As a result, farmers save a huge amount of money and put it into the purchase of input materials for better growth.
Live input materials are essential for animal husbandry and aquaculture farmers. The traditional market of input materials presented several challenges for farmers and restricted their growth. With the advent of technology, farmers are able to increase cost efficiency, improve animal health boost productivity, and quality of produce.
Source: Business World