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Government To Fund Drones Use in Agriculture to Make Farming More Hi-tech

In a major boost to drone use in farming, the Union agriculture ministry has issued funding guidelines to make this technology affordable by assisting in purchase, hiring and demonstrations of agriculture drones.

Ayushi Raina
Government To Fund Drones Use in Agriculture
Government To Fund Drones Use in Agriculture

In order to encourage drone use in agriculture, the Union Agriculture Ministry has issued funding guidelines to make this technology inexpensive by helping in purchase, hiring & demonstrations of agricultural drones.

The "submission on agricultural mechanization" (SMAM) scheme envisions ICAR institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, and State agriculture colleges receiving up to 100 percent or Rs.10 lakh in grant funds for drone purchases. It gives Farmer producer organizations (FPOs) with a grant of up to 75% of the cost of purchasing a drone. The financial assistance and grants will be accessible until March 31, 2023. 

"A contingency expenditure of Rs.6000 per hectare would be provided to implementing agencies that hire drones for demonstrations. A contingent expenditure of Rs.3000 per hectare would be made available to implementing agencies that purchase drones for drone demonstrations.

Drone federation of India president Smit Shah stated, "Forty percent or up to Rs.4 lakhs of grant funding for drone purchase to existing custom hiring centers which are set up by Cooperative Society of Farmers, FPOs and Rural entrepreneurs." 

"Agriculture graduates establishing Custom Hiring Centers would receive 50% or up to Rs.5 lakh in grant support for drone purchases. The proposals for the procurement of drones will be submitted through the state government for consideration by the scheme's executive committee for allocation of funds," the guidelines say. 

"With a standard agriculture drone model costing between Rs.8-10 lakhs, this step has made the purchase of agricultural drones nearly free for major agri-research and agri-training institutions to acquire agricultural drones. 

These institutes will then offer demonstrations around the country to promote the use of agri-drones. The subsidized purchase of agri-drones for FPOs, CHCs, and agri-entrepreneurs will make them affordable, resulting in their widespread adoption... This would make drones more accessible to the common man in India and will significantly encourage domestic drone production," Smit Shah said. 

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