CropLife India, an association of 15 R&D driven crop science companies, has complimented the Government of India for initiating ‘Kisan Drones’ for the usage of UAVs for agrochemical spraying in the Union Budget 2022-23. The use of drones will be promoted for crop assessment, digitisation of land records, spraying of insecticides and nutrients. The government will facilitate a fund with blended capital raised under the co-investment model through NABARD to finance agri startups and rural enterprises in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode. The fund would finance startups for agriculture and rural enterprise relevant for the farm produce value chain. The activities of these startups will include inter-area support for farmer producer organisations (FPOs), machineries for farmers on a rental basis at the farm level and IT-based services.
The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for use of drone application for crop protection in agriculture, forestry and non-cropped areas was released in December 2021. This SOP will render guidance to the stakeholders involved in undertaking safe and effective control of pests and diseases by drone-based application.
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Asitava Sen, Chief Executive Officer, CropLife India said, “It is extremely delightful to witness the inclusion of ‘Kisan Drones’ in the Union Budget 2022-23. The Government’s push towards digitalisation of agriculture coupled with the focus on hi-tech services would enhance rural entrepreneurship and infuse youth back in the farmlands, boosting the income of the farmers”.
“CropLife India is very happy to be part of the transparent deliberations within Department of Agriculture, Central Insecticide Board and Ministry of Civil Aviation and industry experts in the development of the pragmatic SOP and guidelines for product registration requirements for drone application for agrochemicals, in an exemplary schedule. These guidelines will now be studied and set the benchmark for ongoing engagements in other Asian countries.”.
CropLife India and its members have been urging the Government to reduce the GST on agrochemicals from the current 18 per cent to 12 per cent and provide a 200 per cent weighted deduction on R&D expenses by agrochemical companies; both of which would have directly benefited the farmers.