TIRUPPUR: The use of drones, which has revolutionised many sectors, is now helping farmers cut costs. A section of farmers in Tiruppur and Coimbatore districts have started using drones to spray pesticide thereby overcoming shortage of labour and saving time.
Senthil Kumar, a farmer in Dharapuram who owns 20 acres, said: “A few months ago, I got to know about the agri-drones through my friends. After watching demonstrations, I was convinced about its usefulness. The devices is much superior to the manual sprayer operated by hand pump, in terms of spraying capacity, the quantity of chemicals needed and the spraying duration. For instance, the manual insecticide sprayer takes two hours to cover one acre of farmland, while the drone takes just 20-25 minutes.”
The manual sprayer used 500-700 ml of insecticide to cover an acre costing Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000. But, the drone used only 200-300 ml reducing the cost to Rs 1,000-Rs 1,200, he pointed out. Pravin Rajasekar, CEO of the company which sells the agri-drones, explained the advantages. “The machine is compact, while the manual sprayer weighs around 20kg and needs to be carried on the back. The drone has three spraying modes which help regulate the amount of pesticide sprayed.”
Though the use of drones needs security clearance, several farmers in the western districts have started using them. According to S Manoharan, Additional Director (Agriculture) in Tiruppur, the Agriculture Department has positive views on the use of the drones. Apart from saving time and money, they reduced the risk of exposure to the chemicals. Several farmers in Tiruppur, Coimbatore, and Erode have started using the agri-drones. Since, there are certain security restrictions, the farmers should inform local police before using the drones, he said.