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BusinessBayer initiates drone trials in Hyderabad for agriculture

Bayer initiates drone trials in Hyderabad for agriculture

Published: 23rd Nov 2021 5:47 pm

Hyderabad: Bayer, an enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of healthcare and agriculture, conducted its first drone trial on Tuesday at its multi-crop breeding center in Chandipa, near Hyderabad.

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The on-ground event, showcasing a field demonstration on the use of drones in agricultural operations, was attended by partners and industry stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Indian Council of Agricultural Research. The Minister of Agriculture, Narendra Singh Tomar also shared a message on this occasion.

The agriculture landscape is evolving rapidly, yet India’s smallholder farmers continue to face several challenges. These include labour shortages, low productivity, limited access or know-how to mechanise the agricultural processes, in addition to environmental challenges such as unpredictable weather fluctuations.

Adopting digital technologies, such as drones, can help overcome these obstacles and support more targeted applications of insect, weed and disease-control products. This ensures correct dosage and also limits the risk of accidental exposure to chemicals. Besides, drones also offer real-time agronomic advisory to farmers, enhancing farm productivity and fostering sustainability.

Engagement with government

Bayer has been working closely with the Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Civil Aviation, industry bodies, regulators, policymakers and drone manufacturers over the last few years to introduce a conducive policy framework for the implementation of drone technology in Indian agriculture. The company secured approvals to conduct R&D and agriculture spraying operations to make the drone technology available for smallholders.

The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar in his message said, “India is making giant strides in technology and digitalisation and adopting these for enhancing agricultural purposes is a step forward in our efforts to provide a strong impetus to farmers’ prosperity.”

Helping farmers through drones

D Narain, CEO & MD, Bayer CropScience Limited said, drones are operating in other small farmer countries in Asia and have the potential to deliver significant value to smallholders in India, as well as for the economy and the planet. The drone trial in Hyderabad showcases the potential of the future of farming.

Bayer has partnered with innovative drone startup, General Aeronautics and conducted several in-house and external R&D trials with universities and central research institutions to generate data to make drone-based services available to farmers.

Based on the initial achievements of drone farming, growers may be able to explore the technology’s capabilities in aiding paddy, corn, sugarcane, wheat, vegetables, fruits and plantation crops and harvests in the future.

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