Nikhit Kumar Agrawal

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Los Angeles, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10585

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Agrawal, Nikhit (California, Los Angeles, U. of) "Techno-entrepreneurship and Agroecological Futures: Ethnographic Research on Agri-tech Interventions in India"

Indian agriculture has recently witnessed a rapid growth of agri-tech—actors, technologies, and narratives—purportedly claiming to address the ongoing economic and ecological crises facing 100 million farmers in India. Most of these have been applying everyday digital technologies, such as mobile applications, to manage on-farm and off-farm tasks using different kinds of data. This project studies the effects of sustainability-promising agri-tech firms on the lives and livelihoods of farmers in India. Preliminary fieldwork suggests scalability remains the key ordering logic of agri-tech in India, like in most domains of innovation and public policy in contemporary times. Furthermore, farmers’ viewpoints are seldom the focal point of ongoing discussions within agri-tech. This project studies how sustainability-promising agri-tech enterprises impact the lives and livelihoods of Indian farmers while attempting to create successful business models for themselves. It ethnographically centers the farmers’ voices to recognize the power dynamics and presumptions related to agricultural knowledge, farming methods, and technological expertise that remain present in agri-tech sustainability undertakings. By doing so, this project makes valuable contributions to the subfields of anthropology that pertain to agriculture, capitalism, sustainability, and the environment, as well as interdisciplinary fields of agrarian studies, transition studies, and science and technology studies.