India: Promotion of Drone Use in Agriculture
The Government of India is to promote the use of drones in agriculture. For this, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare has amended the SMAM guidelines. SMAM means Sub – Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation. Also, the ministry has issued funding guidelines.
About funding guidelines
- The Government of India will provide grants of ten lakh rupees or 100% cost of agricultural drones, whichever is less. The grant shall be used in purchasing drones from State Agriculture Universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Indian Council of Agricultural Research institutes and Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes.
- The Farmer Producer Organization will receive grants up to 75% of the drone cost for demonstration purposes.
- Rs 6000 per hectare is to be provided to the agencies that hire drones for demonstrations. These agencies do not buy the drones.
- Rs 3,000 per hectare is to be offered to the agencies that are buying drones for demonstration purposes.
- 40% of the grant or 4 lakhs, whichever is less will be allocated to custom hiring centres set up by Farmer Producer Organization, Cooperative Society Farmers and Rural entrepreneurs.
- Five lakh rupees or 50% of the grant is to be provided to the graduates willing to establish Custom Hiring Centres.
- The proposals are to purchase or hire the drones for demonstration are to be submitted to the state government.
- The financial assistance is to be made available by the end of March 2023.
The drones are to be used to apply pesticides for crop protection. The pesticides shall be applied in agricultural field, non – cropped areas and forestry. Also, the drones shall be used for sparying crop nutrients and soil nutrients.
The use of standard agriculture drone model is highly expensive. It costs between eight lakhs to ten lakhs. However, this model is less expensive. Most of the stakeholders are receiving the drones for free.