Eminent experts from various ministries and crop science companies here today stressed on the need of extensive use of drones for spraying recommended agrochemicals to control locusts and other invasive pests apart from traditional spray system in the country. This will help not only help in crop protection but also improve crop production.
Experts from various ministries including Agriculture, civil aviation and drone tech companies were attending a virtual seminar on ‘Drones Application Technology in spraying for crop protection’ jointly organised by the Croplife India, an association of 15 R & D driven crop science companies and FICCI drone committee here today.
Mr Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary , Union Ministry of Civil Aviation speaking at the Webseminar said “ Drones are the future ~ both for civil and defence use. They have huge applications across industries, but also risks related to privacy and sabotage. A drone policy is therefore much needed.It needs to be strong enough to detect and punish mischief-makers but must also be flexible enough to foster innovation. If the industry and government work in a concerted fashion, India has the potential to be the drone capital of the world.”
CropLife India FICCI ‘Technical Discussion Paper’ on ‘Drone Usage for Agrochemical Spraying’, was also released during the seminar which highlights the application of agrochemical spraying via drones in India, the benefits and potential risk and mitigation strategy around it.
The Paper was released at a Virtual Conference on ‘Drones Application Technology in Spraying for Crop Protection’ by Mr. Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation; Ms. Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary (M&T), Ministry of Agriculture; Dr. S. K. Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner and Chairman, Registration Committee; Dr. K. Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Agriculture Engineering), Indian Council of Agriculture Research; Mr. Rajan Luthra, Chairman, FICCI Drones Committee and Mr. Asitava Sen, CEO, CropLife India. The conference was jointly organized by CropLife India and FICCI.
The technical discussion paper outlines the drone regulation in other countries such as the Japan, Australia and New Zealand and European Union, citing the best practices in agrochemical spraying.
Ms. Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary (M&T), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare said that, “Drone enabled technology can be very useful in soil analysis of the fields. This can help us in better irrigation management and maintaining correct nitrogen levels”. She urged the start-ups to create drone planting system which will reduce the planting cost considerably; apart from adding emphasis on manpower and skill development.
Dr. S. K. Malhotra, Agriculture Commissioner and Chairman, Registration Committee
Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare opined, “Drone spraying would help the farmers to increase their productivity, lower water consumption, higher efficiency; besides being safe for operators. The Registration Committee is looking into various aspects of product approvals through drones application”.
Dr. K. Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Agriculture Engineering), Indian Council of Agricultural Research shared, “Krishi Drones, operated by a team comprising of a trained manpower, handler for agrochemicals and battery charger for Drone batteries in a mobile unit, will be a good bet for Indian agriculture for agrochemical spraying”.
Mr. Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer, CropLife India said, “Hon. Prime Minister of India has been emphasizing need for modernizing agriculture sector and adoption of new technological innovations in achieving the goal of doubling farmers income. One such area is drone technology deployed on a large scale”. He added, “With the recent permission of use of drones for control of locusts by Civil Aviation Ministry along with Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; India has become the first country in the world with broad specification for drones that can fly at night. There is opportunity to extend this technology to other crops and areas of application through robust and pragmatic science-based policy framework”.