Startups can be an alternative solution for various agricultural problems in Indonesia. Not only good for the Industrial Revolution 4.0 which is completely digital and automatic, the existence of agricultural startups is also expected to be able to eliminate traditions that are detrimental to farmers, such as middlemen and collectors.
Quoting the Central Statistics Agency or BPS (bps.go.id), the agricultural is one of the sectors that continues to growth. For example, during 2019-2020 increase of 14%. Agricultural exports have managed to grow 14.03% from 2019 to 2020, with the food crop subsector as the biggest contributor. Then what about the development of start-ups in this sector?
1. There are 42 agritech startups as of May 2020. This startup is engaged in the e-commerce business or buying and selling agricultural products online which during the Covid-19 pandemic its business continues to increase
2. Difficult to acquire users. Difficulty attracting farmers as a service user base is a major obstacle. In contrast to urban communities or traders who almost always come into contact with technology, recruiting farmers requires a special strategy so that they are willing to actively use products or services from related startups.
3. It’s hard to raise funds. Currently, not many venture capital companies use agritech. One of the reasons is because this sector requires a long-term commitment. Based on Tech in Asia, so far not many agricultural startups have been able to continue the growth phase to a higher level (id.techinasia.com)
At the same time, the interest of the younger generation to work in the agricultural sector is decreasing. If the agricultural sector does not develop, this sector has the potential to no longer be able to meet national food needs in the future. In addition, there are still a number of obstacles faced by the agricultural sector going forward. Among them:
– Uneven development of basic infrastructure, such as irrigation network and water availability, electricity, internet access, and transportation in remote areas and islands.
– Price fluctuations. Governments and startups can collaborate to develop data-driven solutions that can be used to control fluctuations in food prices in the market by adjusting supply-demand and growing seasons.
– Research and development is needed to help provide superior seeds for farmers, including developing tools capable of diagnosing potential crop pest attacks (dailysocial.id).