Dhanuka Group chairman RG Agarwal today made a strong pitch for the integration of technological advancements, such as drones, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and precision techniques with the agriculture sector to enhance crop yield, reduce costs, and ultimately improve the income of farmers.
The Dhanuka Group is a prominent player in the agrochemical industry, with a focus to empower farmers by providing them with innovative solutions.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Agarwal said drones and Artificial Intelligence are two of the most promising technologies that can revolutionise the agriculture industry.
Drones have already been used in the agriculture sector for spraying pesticides and other activities, but they can be promoted on a larger scale through public-private partnerships. We are also supplying the first drones approved by DGCA for use in agriculture as well as spray services, he said.
He said the implementation of advanced technologies like drones and Artificial Intelligence will enable farmers to compete more effectively in the global market while improving the efficiency of their farming operations.
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“These technologies can help in identifying crop diseases and pests attack in advance, as well as assist in the efficient use of fertilisers and water. With the help of these technologies, farmers can make informed decisions based on real-time data and plan their crops better,” said Agarwal.
He further said Dhanuka Group is playing a significant role in the promotion of technology and has also invested in a drone manufacturing company. The company is also running several campaigns to increase awareness about the use of the right quality farm inputs and purchase against bill only. He said recently, Dhanuka Agritech has operationalised a state-of-art Research & Training Centre (DART) for farmers at Palwal (Haryana) which was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar.
Recognising the importance of technology accessibility, Agarwal stressed the need for a “right to technology” for farmers, ensuring that they have affordable access to modern tools and techniques.
“This inclusion will enable farmers to leverage modern tools and techniques effectively, addressing the challenges posed by climate change. It will enable farmers to make the most of innovative solutions and effectively manage their agricultural operations,” he said.
“The adoption of modern technologies, along with the use of the right quality farm inputs can help farmers address the challenges posed by pest attacks. Drones and Artificial Intelligence can provide farmers with real-time information about weather patterns, soil moisture levels, and other critical factors that affect crop growth. With this information, farmers can make informed decisions,” he said.
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Dhanuka Group Chairman also emphasised the significance of providing farmers with high-quality inputs, including seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides, at reasonable rates.
The sale of substandard, spurious, smuggled and duplicate pesticides in the Indian agriculture sector has had a detrimental impact on crop yields and farmers’ income. Subpar products fail to effectively control insects and pests, resulting in significant crop losses.
To address this issue, Agarwal urged farmers to demand proper bills or receipts when purchasing pesticides, ensuring transparency and accountability in the supply chain.
The industry veteran also urged both the Central and state governments to take stringent action against entities involved in the sale of substandard spurious, smuggled and duplicate agrochemicals and agri-inputs. Additionally, a national-level awareness campaign is proposed to educate farmers about the harmful effects of such products and promote the use of reliable and high-quality agrochemicals.
Agarwal emphasised the need to improve the marketing infrastructure for agricultural produce items, strengthening the supply chain and ensuring efficient distribution channels to benefit farmers and consumers alike.
“We are not only self-sufficient in our food requirements but are exporting also. Our per-hectare yield is much lower than in other developed countries. Even if we compare with China, we are much behind and have to cover a long way, which will be possible only by taking new technologies to the farmers and adjusting the GST of 18 per cent on the purchase of agri-inputs” he said.