DCM Shriram AgWater Challenge

Securing water and prosperity for 1 million farmers
in partnership with
Prize purse of INR 2.6 Cr
Apply by 31st July

Water-smart agriculture to transform the lives of India’s small farmers

The DCM Shriram AgWater Challenge by the DCM Shriram Foundation & The/Nudge Prize acts as an innovation catalyst for water-smart agriculture. A 12-month long competition with a Prize purse of INR 2.6 cr, the challenge ensures innovative solutions which are scalable for efficient and sustainable water use in agriculture, thereby creating resilient livelihoods for small and marginal farmers in the face of water stress.

Meet the cohort of the challenge

Why AgWater is Key

India is home to over 600 million farmers. 85% of whom are smallholder farmers and own less than 2 hectares of land for their livelihood. At the nexus of their future and livelihood is water stress which is estimated to reduce the income of a smallholder farmer by a whopping 25% and account for a 16% decline in India’s ability to produce food by 2030.

Scope of the challenge

Are you working in Agri-water use efficiency, irrigation tech and farmer productivity? 
DCM Shriram Foundation & The/Nudge Prize invites leading AgTech innovators & Agri Social Entrepreneurs from across the globe to develop & scale demonstrable solutions for Indian smallholder farmers (SHF) growing fine cereals (rice or wheat) or cash crops (sugarcane or cotton). 
  • improve cropping water efficiency or reducing water consumption by at least 40-60%
    ( 60% for rice | 40% for wheat | 30% for cotton | 50% for sugarcane)
  • improve farmer profitability by at least 40-50% through better SHF package of practices
  • ​​deliver these tech intervention at costs not more than 20% of the cost of cultivation
  • demonstrate a verifiable pool of 5,000 SHF (or, 5,000 hectares) by the end of the challenge
For a detailed outline of the challenge, click here.

What we offer

Prize purse of INR 2.6 Cr
Immersion & pilot opportunities
Partnerships & collaborations with State & non profits 
Connect to investors
Hands-on mentoring and go-to-market support


Hemendra Mathur
Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund
Arindom Datta
Senior Adviser, Agri & Fintech
Aruna Rangachar Pohl
Agri Value Chain and FPO Expert, IFHD
“Agriculture needs unprecedented attention & technological support to empower smallholder farmers and make their practices resilient in the face of unseasonal rains, groundwater depletion & unpredictable climatic shifts. At the MoAFW, we have taken major initiatives for agriculture modernisation through infrastructural shifts, mechanization, policy and promoting technological proliferation. It’s in times like these that we need initiatives like the DCM Shriram AgWater Challenge, to discover, spotlight & champion modern solutions to address systemic challenges in improving water efficiency & productivity at scale; for our largest crops”
Manoj Ahuja,
Secy - Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare
"Water is a vital resource, as much as 80% of water in India is utilized for agriculture and what's concerning is that up to 60% of this precious resource is said to go to waste. Over the years, unregulated extraction of groundwater has resulted in an alarming fall in the water table across the country. Such a scenario can be a threat to food security as well as livelihood for millions of farmers. With this background, there is a pressing need to enhance water usage efficiency in agriculture through innovative and sustainable solutions. Hence any intervention for large-scale water conservation will essentially need to work closely with the needs of agriculture."
Mr Ajay S Shriram
Chairman & Managing Director, DCM Shriram Ltd.
“Water stress in agriculture is a multifaceted issue, which requires a collaborative approach from multiple stakeholders. Here is an unprecedented opportunity for innovators ro demonstrate scale the world has never seen before - especially for the benefit of the smallholder farmer, who is at the intersection of water stress & poverty”
Hemendra Mathur
Venture Partner - Bharat Foundation Fund

Program timeline



Helping on scale

Access to sufficient clean water is still a significant issue in many parts of India, and adoption at the scale of effective solutions has not happened due to poor service and enablement of long term use (especially in rural India).

With “Clean Drinking Water for All”, The/Nudge Prize, powered by Ashirvad, aims to solve this problem through entrepreneurial initiatives.

see all partners


With our partners, we aim to bring in entrepreneurs who can provide innovative solutions to the critical issue of providing clean drinking water for all. With their ideas, volunteering and kind support, The/Nudge is looking forward to building strong communities and helping increase access to clean drinking water for 19 crore rural households.