14 October 2022, Mumbai: Bayer has announced that it has initiated the commercial application of drones in agriculture from Kharif 2022. Drone services will be made available for crop protection purposes across paddy, cotton, soybean, corn and horticulture crops in a phased manner.
Bayer became the first company to initiate internal trials and association with universities and research stations for technology development and regulatory data generation.
The services will benefit smallholder farmers across the states of Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and many other states in field crops and other horticultural crops where farmers are facing challenges. Additionally, the move will also benefit Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Progressive farmers by providing opportunities to village entrepreneurs who are running Better Life Farming centers and others interested in leveraging drone services for their enterprises to offer solutions to smallholder farmers. Bayer will support such entrepreneurs by facilitating machinery, Crop and product know-how, business support and training.
Speaking on the development, Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch, Country Divisional Head – Crop Science Division of Bayer for India, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka, said, “We welcome the Government’s encouraging efforts to develop drone technology ecosystem for Indian farmers and allow commercial usage of drones for Crop protection purposes. This is a positive step toward sustainable agriculture and for enhancing smallholder farmers’ prosperity. We are committed to bringing about a positive change by advancing digitization and mechanization in agriculture to spur food security in the region.
Bayer supports the vision of Make in India and has partnered with innovative Indian drone startups, to make drone-based services available to farmers and create livelihood opportunities for upcoming rural entrepreneurs.
Drone applications in agriculture are endless, from efficient crop protection to spraying, mapping and surveying. Cumbersome tasks can be co-opted by such technologies, such as by ensuring the targeted, uniform application of insect, weed and disease-control products across the farmland. This can also lead to increased time in farmers’ hands for other tasks, which could spur diversification in their fields.
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