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India's farms prove fertile ground for tech startups

Smartphone apps give farmers direct access to markets and advice

The agri-marketing platform NinjaCart from startup 63Ideas Infolabs helps 4,000 farmers sell to grocers without wholesalers, improving incomes and lowering costs.

MUMBAI -- Startups are reshaping the landscape of Indian agriculture, a sector that employs half of the nation's 1.3 billion people, by improving traditional farming methods with information technology and new business models.

In the southern state of Karnataka, farmers deliver produce to a pickup point near their fields where it is inspected for size, shape, color and damage. The tomatoes, cumbers and other crops then is then collected at a fulfillment center to be shipped to small kirana shops by truck. Within 12 hours, these vegetables will line grocers' shelves in the state capital of Bangalore.

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