Fri, 27 May 2022 04:51 PM IST
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday termed drones as a 'game-changer' in the agriculture sector and pointed out the need for drones to improve last-mile healthcare delivery. "Agriculture is being revolutionised due to technology. Be it soil health cards, e-NAM or drones, they are emerging as a game-changer in the agricultural sector," the prime minister said.
"In the last eight years, we have seen improvements in technology. We have witnessed increased adoption of technology and innovation by farmers. The agriculture sector is now transforming with the help of technology. Drones will be important in also improving last-mile healthcare delivery. Even during COVID, drones helped in delivering vaccines to the remotest corners of the country," he added.
The Prime Minister said in the last few months, the government has removed most of the restrictions regarding the usage of drones. "We are also introducing PLI Scheme that will help us build a drone manufacturing ecosystem in India. I request all startups and the youth to work towards developing solutions for better development outcomes, using drones," he said.
How drones can enhance farming techniques?
- Drones can help farmers to optimize the use of inputs (seed, fertilizers, water), to react more quickly to threats (weeds, pests, fungi). The use of drones can also help the farmers to save time in crop scouting (validate treatment/actions taken) and also to improve variable-rate prescriptions in real-time and estimate yield from a field.
- Drones ensure permanent monitoring of the crop in the field from planting to harvest.
- The usage of drones can also help in reducing manpower and the increase the efficiency of crop protection with chemicals. However, a reduction in employment is considered to be a threat.
- Usage of drones can also play a helpful role during all seasons of the year. A drone can fly under any weather condition and are water-resistant, but image quality can be damaged if pictures are taken during rainy weather.
- Raw data collected by drones gets translated into useful and comprehensible information for farmers by providing information through images. The following information can be collected by using drone images:
Plant counting: plant size, plot statistics, stand number, compromised plots, planter skips),
Plant height: crop height and density
Vegetation indices: leaf area, anomaly detection, treatment efficacy, infestations, phenology
Water needs: damage/drown out
Government's plan to increase drone production:
During the presentation of the Union Budget 2022, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Centre would promote start-ups to facilitate the 'Drone Shakti' programme, pushing the use of drones in the agricultural sector. Sitharaman further said that the government will facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through Nabard.
The activities of these startups will include inter-area support for farmer-producer organisations (FPOs), machinery for farmers on a rental basis at the farm level and technology, including invitee base, she added. "Rationalized and comprehensive scheme to increase domestic production of oil seeds to be implemented and will reduce dependence on import of oil seeds," Sitharaman said.
"The scheme in Public-private partnership (PPP) mode to be introduced, for delivery of digital and hi-tech services to farmers, with involvement of public sector research and extension institutions and stakeholders of agri value chains," she added.