New Delhi– The Union Agriculture Ministry on Friday launched an initiative that aims at solving 12 key challenges in the farm sector by partnering with starts-up, along with doubling farmers’ income.

The Ministry said the initiative, Agriculture Grand Alliance, offered an opportunity to agri-tech start-ups to solve the problems, which ranged from providing a fair price to the farmer to creation of yield estimation models which can be used by farmers, as per a release.

The 12 problem areas identified are simplified soil testing methods, assaying and grading solution, development of e-marketplace, price forecasting during sowing, last mile information dissemination, yield estimation, sorting and grading of produce, adulteration testing, customer hiring centres, crop residue disposal, prevent pre-harvest and post harvest losses, and enhancing agricultural productivity.

Agriculture Secretary S.K. Pattanayak said the government was “very open” for use of technology to find solutions to the problems.

The Ministry has partnered with Invest India, which is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency that acts as the first point of reference for investors in the country.

Two solutions — at idea stage and ready market stage — for each problem will be shortlisted under the programme, the Ministry said.

“The idea stage start-ups will get incubation support to go from idea to prototype while the ready market solutions will get to be part of a market access programme, aimed at easy adoption of their innovation,” read the release.

Also, Villgro and Qualcomm have collaborated to be the strategic partners of the initiative. (IANS)