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24th December 2022 (7 Topics)

Self-trained farmer imparts the basics of UAVs to agricultural scientists


A farmer in Wayanad has trained himself in the technology for use in his plantation as well as to train officials of various government agencies.


  • An engineer-turned-farmer at Muttil in the district Wayanad has been using drone technology on his farms.
  • He has done a course from Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands.

What are drones?

  • They are uncrewed aerial vehicles (also known as UAVs), which are used for surveillance in various industries.
  • They were primarily used by companies working in industrial sectors such as mining and construction, the army, and hobbyists.
  • But now, drone technology is increasingly available for use in various sectors of agriculture as well.

Role of drones in Agriculture:

  • Soil analysis for field planning
  • Plant establishment
  • precision application of agrochemicals
  • crop monitoring, irrigation management
  • crop health assessment
  • livestock monitoring and disaster management
  • Geo-fencing
  • crop biomass and damage estimation
  • locust control
  • and transporting goods in agriculture

What steps were taken by the government to promote the use of drones?

  • Certification scheme for agricultural drones: They can now carry a payload that does not include chemicals or other liquids used in spraying drones.
    • Such liquids may be sprayed by following applicable rules and regulations.
  • Subsidies under Agriculture Mechanization: The guidelines of “Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization” (SMAM) have been amended to envisage granting up to 100% up to Rs. 10 lakhs to agricultural institutes for the purchase of drones.
  • Contingency fund: A contingency fund of Rs.6000/hectare will also be set up for hiring Drones from Custom Hiring Centers (CHC).
    • The subsidy and the contingency funds will help the farmers access and adopt this extensive technology at an inexpensive price.
  • ICRISAT to use drones for agricultural research: The government has allowed the Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute (ICRISAT) to use drones for agricultural research activities.
  • The agriculture ministry had released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for using drones in pesticide and nutrient application.
  • Recently, the Prime Minister flagged off 100 Kisan drones in different cities and towns of India to spray pesticides on farms across India.
  • Drone Shakti Scheme: Startups will be promoted to facilitate 'Drone Shakti' through varied applications and for Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS).

Agricultural Drones Market Size and Forecast:

  • The Agricultural Drones Market size was valued at USD 1,197.05 Million in 2021.
  • It is projected to reach USD 6,029.86 Million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 19.68% from 2023 to 2030.
  • The adoption of smart agriculture technology is expected to accelerate, with countries such as India, China, and Southeast Asia leading the charge.

Factors influencing the deployment of agriculture drones in India:

  • Fast-growing population
  • Availability of fertile farms
  • Government backing through subsidies.

Growth Drivers:

  • Improvise the yield rates: It can increase their crop yield with better farming applications and real-time access to information.
  • Protect the farm worker from the adverse effects of the manual spraying of pesticides.
  • Manufacturing indigenous drones: Startup India, can provide funding support to manufacture indigenous drones, which can decrease the price of drone usage.
  • Employment opportunities: The application of drones in agriculture will provide employment opportunities, especially in small towns and rural areas.

Growth Restraints:

  • Lack of technology awareness among the farms with regard to the usage of drones in agriculture;
  • Most farmers in India hold a limited size of land, which leads to an increase in the cost of drone operation.

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