Drones to help Kuttanad farmers spray crops
The agriculture department plans to expand the use of drone technology in crop fertilization, biopesticide spraying, and more. in the paddy fields of Alappuzha.
As part of popularizing the technology among farmers, a demonstration of biopesticide spraying by drone (instead of pesticide, water was sprayed) was held at Kainakary Kadumkayyal paddy polder in Kuttanad on Thursday. .
Inaugurating the spraying, District Collector VR Krishna Teja urged officials to carry out awareness programs to allay people’s concerns while introducing new technologies in agriculture.
Department of Agriculture aims to use drones to spray nutrients, micronutrients, biopesticides; weed management; pest control and aerial survey. Under the central government’s Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) scheme, individual farmers would receive a subsidy of up to ₹5 lakh for the purchase of drones, an official said.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) popularly known as drones have already been deployed in some fields in the district. The last ‘puncha’ harvest season saw the use of drones for foliar application of nutrients and biopesticides to around 6,000 acres in the district, the majority in the Kuttanad region.
The cost of spraying an acre of paddy field is around ₹1000 which includes drone rent ₹800 and price of micronutrients.
According to the farmers, the rate is the same when the process is done manually. Among the biggest advantages, it saves a lot of time and the drones, which use GPS, can evenly spray the content on all the plants, increasing the chances of a higher yield.
Kainakary grama panchayat president MC Prasad presided.