Promise and challenges of drones in agriculture

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Promise and challenges of drones in agriculture

Monday, 20 May 2024 | HIMANSHU VERMA

Promise and challenges of drones in agriculture

Drone technology shows promise in agriculture, offering efficiency and cost savings. Yet apprehensions galore hinder its adoption

Drone technology has gained popularity in the agriculture industry in recent years. Drones provide farmers with several advantages, such as higher yields, lower costs, and enhanced efficiency. However, there are worries that farmers would be hesitant to use drone technology because they don't know enough about it or are afraid of losing their jobs. We may examine the advantages of drone technology for the agricultural industry as well as any obstacles that might be preventing farmers from implementing it.Drones' advantages in the agriculture industry

In the agricultural industry, drones may be utilised for a variety of purposes, such as insect control, crop mapping, soil analysis, and irrigation. The following are the main advantages of drone use

1. Increased efficiency: Farmers can collect data and monitor crops more successfully because of drones' ability to cover huge expanses of land swiftly and efficiently. Early problem detection can result in quicker and more efficient responses.

2. Increased agricultural yields: Farmers may discover areas that need care by using drones to collect data on crop health. Farmers may raise agricultural yields and profit margins by resolving these problems.

3. Lower prices: By locating farm areas that need maintenance, lowering the need for physical labour, and lowering the usage of pesticides and other chemicals, drones may help farms cut costs.

4. Increased accuracy: Farmers can observe their crops in detail thanks to the high-resolution photographs and data that drones can collect. This can assist in identifying problem areas and guarantee that solutions are focused and successful.Drone technology adoption challenges in the agriculture industry Although farms might profit greatly from drone technology, several obstacles may prevent farmers from using this tool. These are a few of the main obstacles: 

1. Fear of losing one's job: Since fewer people will be required to undertake physical labour on farms as a result of the adoption of drone technology, many farmers are worried about losing their jobs.

2. Lack of expertise: Farmers may lack the expertise or training required to use drones safely. They might not be confident in their abilities to utilize it, which might make it difficult for them to accept this technology. 

3. Cost: Since drones may be pricey, many farmers might not be able to afford to invest in this technology.

4. Regulatory obstacles: Farmers may find it challenging to use this technology if there are regulatory obstacles to the usage of drones in agriculture. Drone technology usage in rural India's agriculture industry is still in its infancy. This technology is attracting curiosity, but there are also worries about job loss and a lack of education and training. Nonetheless, initiatives are being made to overcome these obstacles and promote the use of drone technology. The Digital India programme is a major endeavour that seeks to furnish rural regions with digital infrastructure. The initiative's emphasis on education and training may aid in addressing farmers' deficiencies in knowledge and experience. Furthermore, several efforts and organisations are working to further the application of drone technology in agriculture. To promote precision agricultural technology, such as drones, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) developed the Centre for Precision and Farming Technology. Farmers may be reluctant to accept this technology, though, due to worries about job loss and a lack of education and training.

Farmers must have the support and training; they need to use this technology efficiently, as well as an understanding of its potential advantages.

(The writer is an assistant professor of agronomy, college of Agriculture & environmental technology, Surajmal University, Uttarakhand; view are personal)

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