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ThinkAg and CropLife India Come Together to Make ‘Kisan Drones’ Available for Farmers

It's time to make drones available for farmers, according to Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary (M&T), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, Government of India. There are 200+ start-ups that are involved in manufacturing and providing drone services in agriculture would be crucial.

Sandeep Kr Tiwari
"CropLife India is dedicated to assisting in the creation of a supportive ecosystem and the rapid adoption of Kisan Drones in India.
"CropLife India is dedicated to assisting in the creation of a supportive ecosystem and the rapid adoption of Kisan Drones in India.

ThinkAg along with CropLife India, the leading voice of the plant science industry in India organized an Industry Round table “AgLab” - Connecting Innovators with Corporates – Drone Applications in Agriculture & Crop Protection - bringing together all stakeholders of the Agriculture Drone ecosystem with a ‘focused platform for partnerships’ for the start-ups and concerned on the need of fast-tracking and large-scale adoption of drone technology for agrochemical spraying in the country.

It's time to make drones available for farmers, according to Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary (M&T), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers' Welfare, Government of India. There are 200+ start-ups that are involved in manufacturing and providing drone services in agriculture would be crucial. The crucial next stages for start-ups are to become custom recruiting centres themselves and to be formally examined by the State Governments.

Biswas further added that the Government has added another intervention involving the rural youth. Just with a Bachelor in Science - agriculture degree, he/she can open a custom hiring center, own a drone, and be an entrepreneur; employing others. Youth will be the ambassadors of Drone technology and hence we must influence this segment. Start-ups in this sector can involve the youth and other partners at the village level and help the growth of the agricultural economy.

Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife India, stated: "CropLife India is dedicated to assisting in the creation of a supportive ecosystem and the rapid adoption of Kisan Drones in India. The learning curve would soon be flattened by innovators and agrochemical Company' collaborations. The webinar's goal, according to Sen, is to provide a "Focused and Neutral Platform for Partnerships" between start-ups and agrochemical/agricultural input firms for knowledge sharing. It is essential for stakeholders to work together to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities presented by this new technology.

Hemendra Mathur, co-founder of ThinkAg, stated that drone applications, such as spraying, crop health monitoring, and data collecting, will be transformative for Indian agriculture. He also stated that it would be beneficial to create an "open-source platform" for drone camera photos. The development of specialised APIs as well as public dashboards on crop health, sowing location, prospective yields, etc. can be aided by picture analytics. This will need collaboration amongst drone players and a mechanism to store, share and analyse images on a common platform.

Prem Kumar Vislawath, founder and chief innovator of Marut Drones, stated that agriculture hasn't yet adopted drone technology. Farmers still need manual labour, but drones with AI technology are about to change the perception that since they can measure unique characteristics like plant count, plant height, etc. By creating a crop-wise calendar, we provide farmers with data from sowing to harvest.

Amandeep Panwar, Executive Director & CEO, BharatRohan Airborne Innovations said, “We provide farmers with end-to-end solutions- from the sowing of seeds to the sale of produce and we offer a complete dashboard to each and every stakeholder. Our major USP is that we work on hyper-spectral Imaging for crop monitoring where we identify a crop issue even before visual symptoms appear.”

Pradeep Palelli, Co-Founder & CEO, Thanos Technologies said, “All agrochemical companies are required to adhere to SOPs and we have been working with a few of them on a pilot basis apart from working with Flytech Aviation Academy. We have partnered with National Skill Training Institute (NSTI), Hyderabad; run by the Directorate General of Training (DGT), Government of India, to help in creating a talent pool”.

Raja Raman, Chief Business Officer & Board Member, Dhaksha Unmanned Systems said, “We devised petrol engine-based drones instead of battery-pack drones to reduce the operational cost of Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 2.5-2.8 lakh. They cover 30-35 acres a day with 8-hour usage per day and roughly 650 ml petrol usage each day. We offer a complete solution, training technicians, dealers-distributors across India”.

Prayas Saxena, Founder & CEO, Skylane Dronetech said, “We are working with farmers, service partners and agri-input companies. We have developed training modules and have started imparting training in agricultural institutes. We feel that collaboration would provide more network to companies and access to remote places apart from ensuring precision and adding value”.

Saurabh Srivastava, General Manager - Sales, IoTechWorld Avigation said, “We started in the year 2017 with just 4 drones but right now we are focused on agricultural drones with our manufacturing facility in Gurgaon. Our “Agribot”, a portable bot which can be transported via a 2 wheeler and has a Flight time of 20 min; one spray cycle of 7 minutes approx. in an hour; covering 4 ~ 5 acres with optimum coverage of 30 Acres per day; with a minimum of 6 battery sets.”

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