Agriculture is the backbone of any economy. Millions of farmers in Pakistan rely on it for their livelihoods. It contributes about 22% of its gross domestic product (GDP) and employs around 45% of its labor force. Agricultural production and productivity are essential for Pakistan’s economic growth and development.
According to the UN, the world will need a 70% increase in food production to keep up with population growth. Only 10% of countries meet their food demands.
One major problem Pakistan faces today is feeding a large and growing population. Pakistan is one of the world’s largest exporters of fruit and vegetables. But the major downside is that Pakistan imports half of its food supply.
The demand for food is increasing daily in Pakistan. We need higher yields, which are not possible with traditional agriculture techniques.
Agritech is already popular in other parts of the world. Startups in agriculture can solve many of our issues. These Agritech startups help us improve soil health, double crop yields, and make our operations more sustainable.
Critical Opportunities for Startups
The agricultural sector contributes 80% of our total exports. One of the critical opportunities for the agriculture industry in Pakistan is the potential to increase exports.
For example, Pakistan is the fifth-largest producer of cotton in the world. Cotton contributes 10% to the GDP and 55% to the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Startups will help increase cotton production in Pakistan to decrease imports.
Rice is also a crop that needs to be provided with an increased yield. It contributes 0.6% to GDP. Pakistan uses much of its water on rice crops even though our water level is decreasing. Startups are already experimenting with ways to produce more crops with less water.
Benefits of Using Technology in Agriculture:
- Increasing food production:
Wheat yields in Pakistan are 2.8 tonnes per hectare, whereas China yields 5.6 tonnes per hectare. Pakistan needs to invest in startups to help with this issue. The global population is expected to grow. It would require technology to increase yields, like in China.
Farmers can double their yields using technology while reducing fertilizer and water requirements.
- Irrigation systems:
Around 40% of Pakistan’s water is lost to spillage, leaking, and other problems. We can use this water in areas like Balochistan affected by water scarcity.
About 8 million hectares of the area in Pakistan cannot be used due to water scarcity. We need more efficient irrigation systems to use this water more effectively.
For example, drip irrigation systems deliver water directly to the plant’s roots. It will allow farmers to use less water. It will provide proper moisture for plants.
- Livestock monitoring:
Livestock accounts for 61% of agriculture. It also accounts for 14% of Pakistan’s GDP. Agritech can also track the health and welfare of animals.
For example, sensors and cameras track the behavior and movements of animals. It allows farmers to identify potential health problems.
Government Investment in Startups
The government of Pakistan launched the National Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) in 2002. NADP aims to improve the quality of life of rural communities by increasing agricultural productivity and income.
The government has invested 20 billion USD since its creation. While the program has been successful in some ways, it has had mixed results in others. The program has helped millions of people in Pakistan.
For example, Crop2x is a startup that recently saved around 1.6 billion gallons of water. It has served more than 100 farms. Due to its advanced techniques, it can help the government avoid a water crisis.
Crop2x can significantly help in areas where the water level is low. They have saved farmers around 15000 USD of added fertilizer cost.
The government should help startups like Crop2x to make the country self-sufficient in agriculture. Crop2x can help industries like cotton meet domestic cotton demand and reduce foreign reserves lost to cotton imports.
The government needs to invest heavily in startups like Crop2x to help prevent the water crisis in the future.
Private Investment Scope for Startups
The investment sector is keen to invest in agritech startups. Several companies have already received funding from venture capitalists and angel investors.
The private sector is interested in investing in more startups because of the need for more startups and growth opportunities.
In conclusion, agritech has the potential to transform the agricultural industry in Pakistan by providing solutions to challenges such as feeding a growing population and increasing crop yields.
The government has invested in agritech startups through the NADP, and there is also potential for private investment in this sector. Agritech helps improve the lives of many people in Pakistan and contributes to the country’s economic growth.
Agritech startups can solve significant problems by monitoring soil health. To increase sustainability and double yields, we must support more startups.
What solutions do these startups offer?
Startups can help solve these problems by developing innovative solutions. For example, some startups may develop creative pest control or water conservation technologies. Others may focus on creating sustainable agricultural practices.
What are some examples of agricultural technology startups in Pakistan?
Some examples of agricultural technology startups in Pakistan include Crop2x. This startup uses data analytics and satellite imagery to improve crop management and can help us to use water more efficiently.
Is there potential for private investment in agritech startups in Pakistan?
Yes, there is potential for private investment in agritech startups in Pakistan. Several companies have already received funding from venture capitalists and angel investors. Private investment can help agritech startups grow and develop, ultimately benefiting the agricultural industry in Pakistan.
What challenges do agricultural technology startups face in Pakistan?
Agricultural technology startups in Pakistan face several challenges, including limited access to funding and a need for more awareness among farmers about the benefits of technology. In addition, the infrastructure and regulatory environment in the country can also pose challenges for these startups. However, these challenges will likely decrease as the sector continues to grow and develop.