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Dhanuka Agritech bets big on drone applications in agricultureqrcode

Jul. 11, 2022

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Jul. 11, 2022

By Mohd Mustaquim

Dhanuka Agritech, a leading agrochemical company in India, has been pioneering sustainable agricultural practices in the country. Going forward, the company has ventured into drone applications in agriculture which benefits farmers economically as well as makes way for sustainable use of natural resources. RG Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Agritech spoke to Mohd Mustaquim on various looming issues and cutting-edge technologies coming into the sector.


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Dhanuka Agritech bets big on drone application in agriculture (In Pic: RG Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group)


Excerpts

What are the biggest challenges agrochemical industry is facing today and how are you coping with them?


The biggest problem in front of the agrochemical industry is the delay in getting registrations done for new molecules. It creates a big roadblock in front of new technologies coming into the sector. Across the world, there are 1,175 pesticides available. However, in India, we have only 294 pesticides registered. The problem needs to be resolved by bringing in big reforms for improvement in the CIB&RC (Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee).

After the Government’s SoPs for drone applications in agriculture, how is Dhanuka Group leveraging this technology?

Today we are having the first DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) – approved drone for using in agriculture that is developed by a company, IoTechWorld Avigation. Dhanuka has partnered with the company by investing as venture capital. We take drones from them and popularise the technology among the farmers by conducting field demonstrations. We are making farmers aware that by use of technology, how precision agriculture you can do and how would it improve spraying which results in less consumption of pesticides, fertilisers and water. In place of 200-litre water, it does in 10 litres only. When manually when spraying takes hours, drones do it in minutes in the same size of the field. Drone applications in agriculture will be faster and more economical for farmers.

We are producing water-intensive crops like rice and sugarcane excessively which are considered unsustainable. What are the ways to bring in sustainable agriculture for future development?

The government has realised that if we export one kilogram of rice, we actually export around 3,000 to 4,000 litres of water as producing rice needs more water. On the other hand, we are importing oilseeds and pulses. And therefore, the government is working on crop diversification. Where we are growing paddy (unprocessed rice) or sugarcane, which are the most water-consuming crops, the government is promoting oilseeds, pulses, maize, millets and other low water-consuming crops. Definitely, an association between the government and private sector will ensure momentum in crop diversification soon.

Counterfeit crop protection products are a menace to the agriculture sector. What efforts Dhanuka Agritech is taking to make farmers aware of this?

Dhanuka Agritech has around 1500 extension officials in the field and they organise farmers’ meetings and show the difference between genuine and duplicate products. Most of our farmers are illiterate so they don’t understand and can’t differentiate between both. We have even deployed detective agencies to detect duplicate products and conduct raids and catch the culprits red-handed, but proper action is not taken. If we have to control the spread of counterfeit products, then the government has to take stringent action against such culprits.

What farmer awareness campaigns do you run on the ground for your new products?

Until we run farmer education campaigns, farmers will not come to know which crop this product is for and how this is to be used. And therefore, as I said earlier, we have 1500 extension professionals in the field who organise farmers’ meetings and tell them about new products, and how it is to be used.

What new offerings are we going to see from Dhanuka Agritech in the future?

In May this year, we have offered two new products; a herbicide ‘Cornex’ for weed management for corn crops and a fungicide ‘Zanet’ for tomato crops. Further, we are going to introduce one new pesticide soon.

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