NEW DELHI: Aligning itself with the Government of India’s intent to promote drone use in agriculture, Coromandel International Limited , the country’s second largest Phosphatic fertilizer player and part of Murugappa Group, conducted its first drone trials in Hyderabad.
Commenting on the trials, Sameer Goel, Managing Director, Coromandel International Limited 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.
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 fertilizers and permitted pesticides on 1 acre as opposed to 5 – 6 hours earlier. Also crops at any height can be effectively reached, as drones ensure comprehensive and equal distribution of fertilizers and pesticides.
“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,” adds Goel.