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India adopts Standard Operating Procedures for drone application in agriculture

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Drone technology adoption is the need of the hour and it will greatly benefit farmers. Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar conveyed this during the release of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for drone application in agriculture, saying that all policies implemented under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership since 2014 have been aimed at doubling farmer income by 2022. 

India adopts Standard Operating Procedures for drone application in agriculture

The development of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) will result in a revolution in small farmers’ lives. The Minister stated that the drones were utilized for the first time in various states of the country to combat locust attacks. He further said that the government is working hard to infuse new technologies into agriculture in order to provide long-term solutions for improving the agriculture sector’s productivity and efficiency. 

Statutory provisions, flying permissions, area distance restrictions, weight classification, overcrowded areas restriction, drone registration, safety insurance, piloting certification, operation plan, air flight zones, weather conditions, SOPs for pre, post, and during operation, and emergency handling plan are all covered in the SOP for drone regulation for pesticide application.

In light of the unique benefits of drone technologies in agriculture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare) has released Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the use of drones in pesticide and nutrient application, which provide concise instructions for effective and safe drone operations. 

 Potential to revolutionize Indian agriculture:

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have the potential to revolutionize Indian agriculture by ensuring the country’s food security. The Drone Rules 2021 have made it substantially easier for citizens and businesses in the country to own and operate drones now that the national drone policy has been announced. Fees for obtaining permissions have also been cut to nominal levels. Drones have various features, such as multi-spectral and photo cameras, and may be utilized in many aspects of agriculture, including monitoring crop stress, plant growth, predicting yields, and delivering props such as pesticides, fertiliser, and water. 

Drones may be used to analyze the health of any vegetation or crop, as well as field areas infested with weeds, diseases, and pests, and the precise amounts of chemicals needed to combat these infestations can be applied based on this assessment, lowering the overall cost for the farmer.

Drone planting systems have also been developed by many start-ups which allow drones to shoot pods, their seeds and spray vital nutrients into the soil. Besides reducing the cost, this technology brings more consistency and efficiency of crop management. 

On a daily basis, farmers encounter various issues, including labour shortages or high costs, health issues from coming into touch with chemicals (fertilisers, insecticides, etc.) while applying them in the field, insect or animal bites, and so on. Drones, in this context, can assist farmers in avoiding these issues while also providing the benefits of a green technology. Drones in agriculture can also give ample opportunities to provide employment to people in rural areas.

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