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India - Drones to help Meerut farmers spray crops, cut risk of exposure to toxic pesticideqrcode

Sep. 20, 2021

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Sep. 20, 2021

By Sandeep Rai

A group of farmers at Ditauli village watched with keen interest as a huge flying machine took off. It lifted a 10-litre tank of pesticide and sprayed it on the crop in minutes, taking everyone by surprise. The same task would have taken days.

The drone for farmers is being promoted by the agricultural scientists of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Agriculture University (SVBPAU), who have been holding demonstrations at various villages. They say it is quite effective not only in terms of reach but also in mitigating health risks faced by farmers who walk through the fields with handheld sprayers, exposing themselves to toxic chemicals. Besides, it will help overcome the shortage of labour.

“The technique is very helpful, particularly for paddy and sugarcane, where negotiating the way through every nook and corner of vegetation is not possible and several portions of the crop are left out from the spray. The cost of a drone is Rs 6 lakh and it can spray crops in one acre in 15 minutes,” said RS Sengar, agriculture scientist, department of biotechnology, College of Agriculture, SVBPAU.

A Chennai-based company has tied up with the university for the supply of drones

“Utilization of drone technology will go a long way in attracting youth towards farming,” said RK Mittal, vice-chancellor, SVBPAU.

According to the university sources, the drone-based technique will reduce the cost of spraying by almost half as 700 ml of pesticide is used to cover an area of one acre under conventional system, but with the drone, only half the amount will be needed, reducing input cost.

The high cost of equipment is still a challenge. Bhoop Singh Chaudhary, a farmer at Ditoli village, suggested, “As of now, we think that a few farmers can jointly purchase the equipment instead of one bearing the entire cost.”

As of now, agricultural drones are being used for spraying pesticides on paddy, groundnut, red gram, cotton and soya bean crops in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh among other states.

Read more at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/86271437.cms

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