Drones & GIS to revolutionize the Agriculture Sector

No. PR- 207

January 28, 2021

New Delhi

Drones & GIS to revolutionize the Agriculture Sector

Drones are a very high-priority area for us, it’s modern technology at its best. This physical drone integrated with GIS, AI, Internet of things and Machine Learning has the potential to change the way Agricutlure is done today. The technology is also helpful in many sectors. It needs to percolate to the grass-root level for maximum benefits and we need to work together for the same deliberated Shri Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation in the Round table discussion on “Drone and GIS Application in Agriculture: Opportunities and Way Forward” organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Shri Amber Dubey emphasized that drones are affordable and easy to use. It can help to access the efficient use of inputs, labor, and time. This is another revolution and, we have to move it to achieve success. He informed that the Ministry is open to fast track approvals and exemptions to academic and research institutes buy declaring the areas as Green Zones. He cited example of use of drone in managing the Locust menace in Rajasthan in a matter of hours through inter-ministerial coordination.

Dr. D.K. Prabhuraj, Director, DPAR (e-Governance), Govt. of Karnataka mentioned that drones are in demand for everything from delivery to defense and, recently they are revolutionizing the agriculture sector. Looking at the recent developments, he mentioned that drones can be helpful in the agriculture sector as it can give an estimation of the crop areas; identification of specific crop varieties; assessment of crop condition; estimation of crop yield; reduction in the number of CCE with a concomitant reduction in manpower, time and expenditure and many more.

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT while discussing the limitations, advantages, challenges of drone-based sensing for crops, suggested that overall, it should be a low cost technology, easy to interpret, and regulated by government policies. A region-wise common facility center may be created where farmers can access the systems and access their yield on regular basis and, there is a need for special drones for the hilly areas.

Dr. Raju Kapoor, Director Corporate Affairs, FMC Corporation discussed the wide spectrum of needs within the agriculture industry, talked about the issues to be focused on in drone technology i.e. safety, drift, residues, and past efficacy. He mentioned that despite the challenges, drone application can be successful and, the technology is improving with the coming of spray system optimization and many more. He requested the support of MoCA to take it forward with the Ministry of Agriculture for widespread use in pesticide spraying.

Mr. Navin K. C. Twarakavi, Research Scientist, IBM Research gave an in-depth understanding of the drone imaging ranges which are hyperspectral, multispectral, and RGB (visible range).

Mr. Krishna Rao TBV, GIS Technology Evangelist, Esri India shared the digital transformation trends in agriculture that are IoT and sensors based in the field and equipment. He stressed upon the need for policy for propagation amongst small and marginal farmers and suggested leveraging the KVKs for the same.

Ms. Sangeeta Mendiratta, PhD, Lead- Government-Public Affairs, Crop Science division of Bayer Crop Science Limited while giving an industry perspective mentioned that the company is providing real-time data to farmers that are helping in the optimization of pesticides, resources, and increasing productivity giving an end-to-end value chain. She also suggested the need for a wholistic approach in policy formulation. The technology is not limited to imaging only but used effectively for risk mitigation going through stages of scouting and advisory.

Dr. Shefali Agarwal, Scientist/Engineer – SG, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing discussed the advantages of the UAV, high resolution image capturing and anlysis through remote sensing and GIS in crop mapping, crop assessment, soil resource management, and others for better planning. They are more flexible, low cost, low weight allowing seamless quick dissemination of information. She mentioned that drones are good in the hilly regions to access the crop, soil erosion, and disaster management.

Mr. Pradeep Multani, Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in his welcome address deliberated about drone technology, an innovation that has the potential to transform the routine manual activities are carried out in many fields. Agricultural industries globally are increasingly using drone technology to modernize farming activities; reduce dependence on labor; ensure precision in irrigation; spraying of chemicals; taking timely steps to check the spread of pests and weeds; prediction of harvesting time and accordingly arranging for labor, etc.

Mr. Multani mentioned that the use of drones can be advantageous in the case of pesticide spraying, replacing labor-intensive and hazardous conventional methods, particularly in difficult areas. Looking at the storage of labor in agriculture due to the pandemic, he mentioned that it is necessary for the adoption of physical distancing measures has opened up several opportunities for the use of drones in agriculture.

Talking about the potential of using the drone in agriculture, he shared that in India, many drone start-ups are engaged in enhancing the technological standards and decrease the agriculture drone’s prices to make it affordable and popular among farmers. There is huge potential using Drones in Agriculture like Soil Analysis for field planning, Seed Pod Planting, Crop Monitoring, Crop Spraying, Irrigation, Crop health assessment, Crop surveillance, Controlling weed, insect, pest, and diseases and Scaring birds, etc. Along with benefits, drones for agricultural use have some limitations also.

The round table discussion was moderated by Ms. Mallika Verma, Director & Head (Agriculture, Food Processing & Consumer Affairs), PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was attended by many industry stalwarts pan- India. FMC Corporation sponsored the Webinar.


Media Division

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry