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Sensor based use of drone application in agriculture is the need of the hour: Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Family Welfare

May 20, 2022

NEW DELHI, 20 May 2022: Ms Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India today said that as the technology advances in India, we will soon have sensor-based use of drone application for which we all stakeholders have to jointly collaborate. "The eco-system is now in place, and it is up to the industry and Start-ups to leverage this eco-system," she added.

Addressing the day-2 of 2nd edition International Summit 'Artificial Intelligence & Digital Applications in Agriculture', organized by FICCI, Ms Biswas said, "Once the sensor-based applications of drones start then we might not require huge data generation. Currently, we don't have sensor based targeted approach of application of pesticides on nutrients through drones."

Ms Biswas further stated that in terms of mechanization, India is 40 percent mechanized country, but we now need some parameters by which we can also assess our technological progress as well including use of drones, AI, IoT, etc.

She also urged various universities and institutes working on judicious use of pesticides through drones to share the data and research findings with all stakeholders. We are saving up to 30 percent of the pesticides and it will come down further when we adopt targeted approach as part of the sustainable agriculture, she added.

Highlighting the importance of Start-ups, Ms Biswas stated that the Start-ups should work on solutions at lower cost for the farmers along with providing good after sales service. "I urge the Start-ups to come forward and provide these services. The government agencies should also involve Start-ups to find solutions for certain services," she noted.

Dr V Praveen Rao, Vice Chancellor of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University (PJTSAU) while highlighting the initiatives of the university stated that in the last 3 years have given a lot of insights into the drones. We look at drones in a cyber, physical management cycle. "Due to labour scarcity, we are now seeding rice directly through drones. We are introducing high intensity planting of cotton in the state, and we want to use drones for this as well," he added.

Dr SK Malhotra, Former Agriculture Commissioner, Chairman, CIB&RC and Prjoject Director, DKMA said that we are now focusing on smart farming. There are many drone Agristart ups who are impacting agriculture with appropriate solutions and many more likely to join as this is an upcoming project. "We need to provide the bio-solutions to the farmers if we have to do judicious use of consumption of pesticides," he asserted.

Mr T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE Ltd said that drone is going to change the way the Indian agriculture will work and technology in agriculture will make it easy for everyone to access. "Agricultural technology which can meet the needs of the farmer is going to be a big difference as far as India and the world is concerned," he added. 

Dr JP Singh, Additional Plant Protection Adviser & Secretary, CIB&RC and Mr Hemendra Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Task Force on Agri Start-ups & Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund also shared their perspective.

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