J&K government introduces drones for spraying fertilisers, pesticides in orchards

To help the farming community of Jammu and Kashmir, the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agriculture and Science Technology (SKUAST) and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir have introduced high-tech drones to spray chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides in the orchards. 

This technology will help the farming community of the region and lower the costs. From manual labour to minimal usage of chemicals and saving time, this technology could be a great help for the farmers of the Kashmir Valley. The government says that if the farmers adopt technology, it will help in increasing economic productivity, reducing environmental pollution and attracting youth to agriculture.

”The agriculture university of Kashmir is now working with the government of Jammu and Kashmir about the modernisation of agriculture, it includes bringing in new technologies. We would also include Artificial Intelligence. We have today introduced drones for spraying of pesticides and fertilizers in our orchards, conventionally we are using excessive use of chemicals, 90 per cent of all the chemicals used in Jammu and Kashmir are sprayed on these orchards.”

Using drones will bring down the percentage of pesticides by around 90 per cent. We will also be reducing the labour cost. It would be more precise with a mist spray. We are sure we will be taking agriculture to the next level with the support of the government,” said Nazir Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, SKUAST.  

Jammu and Kashmir has around one lakh sixty thousand hectares of land under horticulture and over 20 lakh metric tonnes of fruit are grown every year. Around 8 per cent of the economy of the Union Territory is contributed by horticulture. 

”Horticulture is the backbone of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir, It is around 15 thousand crore rupees (Rs 150 billion), and we believe there is potential to increase it to four times. It won’t happen without technology. Drone technology is one aspect, we are also bringing Artificial Intelligence. We are collecting data on how it’s spraying the pesticides, at what height, and whether the mist it is spraying is sufficient for the requirement of the plant. We are collecting all the data and by next year we will be able to give it to farmers for use,” said Vice Chancellor Ahmad.  

The drones are not fitted with a camera yet due to security reasons. But SKUAST is working with the government and will soon be fitting a spectrum camera which will detect the disease of the plant and spray it with exactly the kind of chemical to treat the disease. Using this technology will save 90 per cent of the chemicals which will be great for the environment and also good for health. 

”Our drone is called Agri boat. It is the first drone approved by DGCA. It is designed for 10 litres of liquid that will be sprayed over one acre of land. The battery life is around 20 minutes per charge. It can cover up to one hectare of land per battery charge. A farmer can save around 90 per cent of water, generally, it takes three hours for an acre of land and that too with a team of labourers, so if we compare this is less time-consuming and needs much lower manual labour. The second is human contact with chemicals would be much lesser,” said Dheeraj Yadav, engineer. 

The farming community of the Kashmir region has hailed the initiative and demanded that drones be made available soon. 


 

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