New Delhi: The government is inviting Indian start-ups to present solutions in some of the key areas of agriculture procurement and supply-chain, some of which it will help develop and bring to the market.

The Department of Agriculture has come out with 12 problem statements, under each of which it will partner with one or more start-ups for a potential solution.

This includes developing a sensor-based product for soil testing, an assaying and grading solution for local commodity markets, cold storage, and a system to better forecast prices of key commodities such as pulses and oilseeds.

It is also exploring models for a nationwide online marketplace that connects farmers or agri-entrepreneurs directly with the food processors.

“We met over 40 agri-tech start-ups in PM’s Champions of Change event in August, and wanted to explore a more meaningful engagement, where start-ups can present solutions to some of the things we are already developing," said Upma Srivastava, additional secretary at ministry of agriculture and family welfare.

The ministry will accept applications for the program over a month-long period starting Friday. The entries will be reviewed by an expert panel, which may involve start-ups being asked to present their technologies in-person to designated experts.

Start-ups chosen through the program will proceed to join a relevant hand-holding agency to scale their offerings. This should happen by March next year, Srivastava said.

Research bodies such as International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Directorate of Marketing & Inspection (DMI), and private incubators Villgro and Qualcomm are tasked to offer the mentoring support.

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