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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightSwiss firm starts...

Swiss firm starts drone yatra in India to educate farmers

Swiss firm starts drone yatra in India to educate farmers

Swiss agrochemical company Syngenta started a 10,000 km-long drone yatra in India to educate farmers on spraying pesticides. The journey will cover 13 states in the next three months.

Syngenta India Country Head and Managing Director Susheel Kumar said the drone yatra aims to create awareness about the use of drones in agriculture. "A van will be deployed that will travel across the country covering 10,000 km reaching out to 10,000 farmers."

He flagged off the Yatra in Maharashtra. "It will travel to Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka."

Syngenta is the first private firm to receive approval from Central Insecticide Board (CIB) to use drones for spraying its crop protection product 'Amistar' on paddy to protect against fungal infections — Blast and Sheath Blight. The Drone Yatra will also gather feedback and inputs from farmers.

The company has announced the world's first biodiversity sensor technology in partnership with IIT Ropar, Punjab and Fraunhofer Institute of Germany. The project is to measure biodiversity in landscapes and will be tested in fields across Europe and India.

Syngenta is encouraging farmers to cultivate appropriate crops and is offering digital agronomy advice on nine crops including cotton, wheat, vegetables, rice, and maize in multiple languages.

Kumar said the commercial launch of the drones for pesticide spraying will be done later this month for rice, cotton, and soybean. He added that Syngenta has already tested the efficacy of drones.

Syngenta Group Chief Information and Digital Officer Feroz Sheikh said the company is working on taking measurements of soil inch by inch and predicting where weeds are placed and spraying herbicides accordingly.

Speaking about the biodiversity sensor technology, he said there is no data available objectively on how much is biodiversity i.e. different species like butterflies and insects in farmland, and how we can help to improve it in a specific region. "The sensors can fill the data gap".

The sensors are designed to measure the biodiversity in agri-landscapes using AI. It has already been tested and validated the accuracy of algorithms. "We are now starting the process of putting the sensors out in the field to see if it is working well enough."

Syngenta has plans to manufacture and deploy 50 sensors in 2022 itself. Sheikh claimed the data will be made open so that everyone can manufacture sensors.

It is also planning to launch the Grower app in India by the end of July. The app is built using the Cropwise technology platform and tailored to India. "We are bringing our global innovation in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create benefits for the Indian farmers. Our target is to reach 2,50,000 farmers this year and next year one million farmers," he added.

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TAGS:agricultureSyngentdrone yatraagritech
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