The era of drones: precision farming gets a big boost in India


The bid to promote precision farming in India got a major boost after the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare released guidelines to make drones more accessible to farmers and stakeholders in the agriculture sector.

According to the release of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, new amendments have been made in the guidelines of the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization. Agricultural Machinery Training and Testing Institutes, ICAR Institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras and State Agricultural Universities can avail the grant which is 100 per cent of the cost of the drone or Rs. 10 lakh, whichever is less. Drones procured from the grant should be used to organize large-scale demonstrations on farmers’ fields.

Farmer Producer Organizations will get up to 75 percent subsidy on agricultural drones for demonstrations. Agencies that don’t want to buy drones can hire them for demonstration from hi-tech hubs, custom hiring centers, drone manufacturers, and start-ups. A contingency expenditure of Rs 6,000 per hectare will be provided to the agencies. Contingency expenditure for implementing agencies procuring drones for demonstrations will be limited to Rs 3000 per hectare. According to the release, the financial assistance and grants will be available till March 31, 2023.

This announcement by the Union Ministry is a clear indicator of the direction in which drone technology is going in India. A few days back it was announced that the country’s capital would be illuminated using 1,000 drones during the Republic Day celebrations. India will become the fourth country, after China, Russia and the UK, to host a massive 1,000-drone show. While the main purpose of drones in this instance will be to showcase government achievements through creative structures, this cutting-edge technology has also been used to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to inaccessible areas on a large scale.

For now, making agricultural drones accessible for precision farming is a step in the right direction. However, it remains to be seen how much agricultural stakeholders use the grant to benefit farmers.

Post Age of Drones: Precision farming gets a big boost in India First appeared on BGR India.

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