Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government has unveiled plans to introduce drone technology to the state’s agricultural sector.
Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kannababu announced the state’s decision to use drone technology while presenting the budget for agriculture and related sectors to the assembly. He said the state government is planning to spend Rs 200 crore on drone technology to benefit farmers.
Drones would help farmers optimize the use of inputs like water, fertilizer and seeds, in spraying operations, in addition to spraying pesticides to control weeds, pests and fungi.
At present, drones are only put into use for spraying pesticides for the protection of plants against pests in a short time. The government intends to expand drone services for seeding and for liquid fertilizer application.
Drones would be used for crop scouting to help assess crop damage caused by natural disasters such as rains and floods, as well as to perform soil health analyses.
The state government intends to launch 10,000 drones in a phased manner in the Rythu Bharosa Kendras and provide training to rural youths on the maintenance and upkeep of these drones with the aim of creating jobs for nearly of 20,000 young people.
The Acharya NG Ranga University of Agriculture has been conducting research on drone technology under the “APSARA Project” since 2018-19 with budget support from the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. It will provide technical support to the state department of agriculture to use drones in the agricultural sector.