Archived Webinar

Digital Ag Series - Building Ecosystem for Public Investments: AgTech Innovation, Investment, and Impact in India

"Smallholder platforms, blended financing options, and digital agricultural data stacks will be some of the approaches explored for their potential to bolster the enabling environment for AgTech solutions..."

Over the past decade, AgTech in India has seen over US$2.3 billion in investments and substantial innovation, particularly in the areas of input and output supply chain digitization and precision agriculture. The disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have further accelerated the recognition of AgTech solutions’ capacity to disintermediate, build efficiency, automate, and add value across India’s diverse and numerous agri-value chains. AgTech startups that improve farmer incomes through better market integration, reduced loss and waste, enhanced farm-level productivity, and wider financial alternatives to distress sales, in particular, have gained traction. 

However, in an ecosystem dominated by smallholders and characterized by still nascent levels of digital integration, structural challenges limiting the breadth of AgTech adoption and depth of its impact, remain. Public investments in the development of institutions and enterprises that can address the informational, logistical, and financing gaps in the ecosystem, have a crucial role to play in enhancing the scalability of AgTech solutions and the significance and sustainability of their impact on smallholders.

This webinar is organized in collaboration with ThinkAg - an AgTech platform that brings together innovators, corporate entities, and investors, to improve outcomes in the Indian food and agriculture sector. Their recently released publication, Ag-Tech in India: Investment Landscape Report 2021 analyzes the innovations, capital flows, investor profiles, and business models emergent in India’s AgTech sector in 2020. The webinar begins with a presentation of the report’s key findings, followed by a discussion on the need for and possible approaches to public investments supporting the AgTech ecosystem. Smallholder platforms, blended financing options, and digital agricultural data stacks will be some of the approaches explored for their potential to bolster the enabling environment for AgTech solutions.

About the Presenters

Prasad Gopalan

Global Sector Manager for Agribusiness and Forestry, IFC

Prasad Gopalan is the Global Sector Manager for Agribusiness and Forestry in IFC. He has been with IFC for more than 20 years and is currently based in Washington D.C. Prasad has worked on client engagements across various sectors and over the past 20 years has focused on the Agribusiness and Forestry sectors.  Prior to IFC, Prasad worked as a process engineer/infrastructure consultant in the U.S. and Europe. He has graduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering as well as a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. 

Raman Ahuja

Co-founder, ThinkAg

Raman Ahuja is a co-founder of ThinkAg and an independent consultant in food & agriculture, working to influence the ecosystem towards improved outcomes for businesses and producers. His clients include development organizations such as The World Bank Group, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as technology startups and small & medium enterprises in the Agri and food sectors. His prior work experience spans agribusiness value chains, consumer products, and ingredients industries, operating in both Indian and International markets. After 15 years at Hindustan Unilever, he built one of India’s earliest corporate investments in horticulture – FieldFresh Foods DelMonte (a JV of Bharati Enterprises and Del Monte Pacific) and took it to profitability. He also led the South Asia Flavours business of Swiss company Firmenich – the world's largest privately-owned fragrance & flavor company.

Andrew D. Goodland

Lead Agriculture Specialist, Agriculture, and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

Andrew Goodland is the World Bank’s Lead Agriculture Specialist covering India and Sri Lanka, a role in which he started in August 2020.  In this role, he coordinates and oversees the World Bank’s investment and analytical portfolio in the Agriculture and Food Sector for these countries, which includes nineteen investment projects for a total commitment of US$3.5 billion.  Previously, he was Program Leader for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure covering Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives including support to the following sectors: agriculture; environment and natural resource management; energy and extractives; transport and ICT; urban development, social development, and disaster risk management; and water. Before joining the Colombo-based team in July 2017, he was based in Ethiopia as the Sustainable Development Program Leader for Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan. Previously he was Senior Agricultural Economist in the World Bank office in Beijing, China.  He holds an MBA from the University of Cambridge and Master's degree in Agriculture Economics from Wye College.

Parmesh Shah

Global Lead, Data-driven Digital Agriculture, Agriculture, and Food Global Practice, The World Bank 

Parmesh Shah is the Global Lead for Data-Driven Digital Agriculture at the World Bank. He provides leadership to the Bank’s work in these areas and supports the development of global knowledge and learning in these areas to offer solutions to clients and other development partners. His current areas of interest are making markets and public services work for the poor, social entrepreneurship, digital and data-based innovations in agriculture and rural development, climate-smart agriculture, Agriculture and technology-enabled start-ups, venture and patient capital for innovation, promotion of on-farm, off-farm, and digital jobs and public-private and people partnerships for rural poverty reduction. He is currently involved in developing a global program on scaling up data-driven digital agriculture involving data platforms and establishing ecosystems for innovation, entrepreneurship, and incubation. He holds a D Phil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a B Tech degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pantnagar in India. 

Harsh Bhanwala

Ex-Chairman, NABARD and Executive Chairman, Capital India Finance Ltd.

Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala is the Executive Chairman of Capital India Finance Limited, an India-focused integrated financial services company. He was previously the Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), India’s apex development bank overseeing all aspects agricultural credit as well as rural and cooperative banks. A veteran in space, he has rich expertise in financial inclusion, microfinance, and cooperative credit institutions and has held leadership positions and steered the growth of organizations such as the India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) and Delhi State Cooperative Bank (DSCB). He currently also serves as a Non-Executive Independent Director at Bayer CropScience Limited, Microfinance Industry Network (MFIN), and Arya Collateral Warehousing Services and as an advisor to the Agritech venture capital firm, Omnivore. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Dairy Technology from the National Dairy Research Institute – Karnal, an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and a PhD in Management from Maharshi Dayanand University.

Purvi Mehta

Asia Lead, Agriculture, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Purvi Mehta is the Asia Lead for Agriculture at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, she was with the CGIAR as head of Asia for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and was the head of the South Asia Biosafety program at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). She has numerous associations with agriculture policy programs, particularly in the area of technology adaptation, and has worked closely with a number of government and non-governmental organizations across South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. She is on the board of several organizations, including, the International Centre for Rural Agriculture-Netherlands, and serves as an Independent Director on the Board of National Commodity Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX), Global Advisory Council- World Food Prize, etc. She holds a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University and degrees from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and Tokyo University.

J. Satyanarayana

Chairperson, India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA) Working group; Chief Advisor, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in India, World Economic Forum; Former Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Govt. of India

J Satyanarayana is the Chairperson for the India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA) working group and the Chief Advisor of the Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution in India, World Economic Forum. A thought leader in the areas of e-Governance, Enterprise Architecture, and Digital Transformation, he has pioneered the design and implementation of several e-governance projects and programs in India. He has had a successful career as a civil servant for over 40 years, having held distinguished positions at the national and provincial levels, including as a Secretary, Department of Electronics & IT, Government of India, and as a Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India. He has made significant contributions to the policy as well as the practice of deploying technologies innovatively in the public sector. He holds a Master’s degree in physics and an MBA. He has published two books on e-Government and Digital Transformation.

Grahame Dixie

Executive Director, Grow Asia   

Grahame Dixie is the Executive Director of Grow Asia, a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that catalyzes action on inclusive agricultural development in South East Asia, convening governments, farmers, NGOs, and other stakeholders to co-create value chain initiatives focused on smallholder farmers and environmental sustainability of agriculture. He has over 35 years of professional experience as a practitioner of agricultural development in over 75 countries, including serving as the World Bank's lead agribusiness advisor for over a decade. There, he was involved in the design and review of the World Bank’s portfolio of projects linking smaller-scale farmers to markets and agribusinesses. These programs leveraged public and private investment and involved innovative financing and research on key issues. More recently, he has served as an advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Questions Submitted

jose luis

- Sep 22, 2022
muy bueno

Mahaman Mourtala

- Sep 13, 2022


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- Nov 12, 2021


- Oct 14, 2021

Joy Mildred Adhiambo

- Oct 14, 2021
Digital Ag Series - Building Ecosystem for Public Investments: AgTech Innovation, Investment, and Impact in India


- Oct 13, 2021


- Oct 12, 2021

Mohammad Nadir

- Oct 10, 2021


- Oct 9, 2021
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