With drones, it takes only a few minutes to spray fertilisers and pesticides on one acre as opposed to five-six hours earlier.
Aligning itself with the government’s intent to opt for next-generation technology in agriculture, a leading player has conducted its first drone spraying in Hyderabad.
Coromandel International, a phosphatic fertiliser player and part of Murugappa Group, has sprayed fertiliser and permitted pesticides on crops on a trial basis.
Traditionally, it has been the farmer who sprays his crops physically. Even with hired manual labour, this is a costly and time-consuming affair. In the manual spraying method, a farmer generally spends a considerable amount on labour charges, more water and a higher quantity of chemicals.
With drones, it takes only a few minutes to spray fertilisers and permitted pesticides on one acre as opposed to five-six hours earlier. Also, crops at any height can be effectively reached, as drones ensure comprehensive and equal distribution of fertilisers and pesticides.
Commenting on the trials, Coromandel International managing director Sameer Goel said: “The guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to make drone technology affordable to the stakeholders in the agricultural sector is indeed a major boost towards promoting precision farming in the country.
“Drones are especially suited for a country like India with small landholding farmers, since other modes of aerial application aren’t viable here. While bringing in an element of precision, drone spraying will also help farmers mitigate the issue of labour unavailability during peak season and decrease the time to spray. These trials are our first steps towards embracing this next-gen technology.”
In December 2021, the government had released SOPs (standard operating procedures) for drone regulation for pesticide application. These covered important aspects like statutory provisions, flying permissions, area distance restrictions, weight classification, overcrowded areas restriction, drone registration, safety insurance, piloting certification, operation plan, air flight zones and weather conditions.
“Coromandel has always been at the forefront when it comes to initiatives for betterment of agriculture and its allied sectors. The company firmly believes that drone technology in agriculture can be very beneficial for aerial spraying purposes,” said Goel.