Regional Management Conclave on the theme Transformation for continuity by AIMA-HMA

AIMA (All India Management Association) and HMA (Hyderabad Management Association) jointly organised a Virtual Regional Management Conclave on the theme TRANSFORMATION FOR CONTINUITY on Wednesday, 10th February 2021 at Hyderabad, from 10.00 AM to 2.00 PM. It was a flagship event for both HMA and AIMA.

Mr Sanjay Kapoor, President of Hyderabad Management Association and Ms Rekha Sethi, Director General All India Management Association inaugurated the session. Followed by Key Note address from Mr K T Rama Rao Hon’ble Minister for IT, Industries, MA & UD Telangana and Mr Harsh Pati Singhania President All India Management Association, Director, J K Organisation & Vice Chairman & Managing Director JK Paper Ltd

This conclave saw participation from corporates and academia. The conclave had Inaugural Sessions, followed by four plenary sessions, on the sub themes of:

  1. Marketing in times of crises: Pivot or perish.
  2. Post-pandemic economy: From recovery to transformation
  3. Go digital or go bust: Technology for business resilience.
  4. NextGen Leadership: Change with continuity

The Conclave discussed and deliberated the issues in detail. The following eminent speakers addressed at the Conclave:

  • Mr K T Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister for IT, Industries, MA & UD, Govt. of Telangana
  • Mr Harsh Pati Singhania, President All India Management Association, Director, JK Organisation & Vice Chairman & Managing Director, JK Paper Ltd
  • Mr D Shivakumar, Group Executive President, Aditya Birla Management Corporation Private Limited & Past President, All India Management Association
  • Mr C K Ranganathan,Chairman & Managing Director, CavinKare Pvt Ltd and Senior Vice President, All India Management Association
  • Ms Rekha Sethi, Director General, All India Management Association

Go Digital or Go Bust

Globally, agriculture is facing depleting natural resources and uncertain weather patterns due to climate change. Challenges such as hyper-fragmentation, generic & asymmetric information, and lack of advisory leading to lower yields and weak market linkages plague the Indian farmers, and in turn, creating lower bargaining power and hitting the farmers’ profitability. The larger issue of feeding the ever-growing population is a big challenge as food production growth is not keeping pace with the population growth.

The farm to fork food value chain is too long and contains multiple stakeholders which result in low-value realization for farmers. There is an urgent necessity to bring together resources and action to address population-scale challenges for the agriculture sector, India’s backbone. The greatest need is to deliver targeted and timely information to farmers based on their needs.

India’s burgeoning start-up ecosystem has been actively playing its part in disrupting the agriculture sector. For instance, AgTech players are seamlessly integrating technology with physical retail infrastructure to remove volatility in prices and sub-quality selection of inputs by farmers. Further IoT and farm management players are utilizing data to improve farm yields using precision farming. Traceability of food is becoming a key demand from consumers. These solutions are incentivizing farming community to produce high-quality output. Innovation via technology for access to credit and crop insurance is vital for farm households. Expensive farm equipment, including tractors, are becoming uberize with evolving business models in the AgTech world.

Now more than ever, AgTech start-ups need to critically address the inherent issues like small landholding size, long gestation periods, and low return on investments. Lower affordability amongst target groups, skill and knowledge gaps amongst farmers while developing and popularising their business models. Disruption of markets & supply chain due to pandemic lockdowns, labour scarcity, higher demand for safe food and ardent government reforms of deregulating markets, commodities provide tailwinds to the AgTech sector. There will be the rise of B2B platforms and marketplace, the emergence of farm to consumer brands, rapid development in precision agriculture and creation of e-markets & allied services.

The investment in the sectors has grown 9.5 times from $45M in 2016 to $430M in 2020. Nationally, a total of 366 Agri-based start-ups have come up from 2013 to 2017, with more than 50% start-ups in the last five years starting in 2015 and 2016. It is essential to highlight that more than 90% of all funding focuses on seed stage and early-stage start-ups. Agri start-ups have received decent government support through supportive policies such as Start-up India, Atal Innovation Mission, etc.

Entrepreneurs need to utilize both traditional science and frontier technology to leapfrog in developing sustainable solutions for climate change, biodiversity preservation and regenerative agriculture. Agri start-ups need to customize suitably for wading into a market with scant technology adoption rate (due to limited budgets and inconvenience with its usage). There is a need to re-orient their selling methods, which will be different from urban India and start-ups operating there.

Several initiatives are underway to hand-hold farmers throughout crop cycles, improve market linkages, access best Agri-inputs, and skill development through tech-driven avenues.

We believe the rapidly maturing sector and more entrepreneurs’ entry will create a fertile ground for innovative strategic plays due to the COVID-19 induced disruptions and behaviours. Indeed, all these efforts will make the goal of doubling the farm income by 2022 a reality. The evolved Agri ecosystem will propel India towards its goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025.