Roorkee (The Hawk): Regional Coordinating Institute-Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, IIT Roorkee, organized a workshop on "Drone: A modern tool for sustainable agriculture" through the online platform WebEx. At the outset of the workshop Prof. Ashish Pandey, Regional Coordinator, RCI-UBA, IIT Roorkee, apprised that 70% of our country's population lives in rural areas engaged in the agricultural economy. Agriculture and allied sector employing 51% of the total workforce but accounting for only 17% of the country's GDP. Thus, there are huge developmental disconnects between the rural and urban sectors, such as inequity in health, education, incomes and basic amenities, and employment opportunities, all causing great discontent and large-scale migration to urban areas. The imperatives of sustainable development that are being felt more and more acutely worldwide also demand eco-friendly development of the villages and create appropriate employment opportunities locally.
Prof. M. Parida, Deputy Director, IIT Roorkee welcomed the keynote speaker and addressed the Workshop. He apprised that recently IIT Roorkee has started a drone center. He said that the agricultural drone would empower agriculture professionals with powerful equipment and provides intelligent solutions that save time and increase workflow. This allows timely protection of crops from pests, saves time for crop scouting, reduces overall cost in farm production, and secures high yield and quality crops.
Dr. Ambrish Kumar, Dean, College of Agricultural Engineering, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Samastipur, Pusa, Bihar, was the Workshop's keynote speaker. He said that Drones are emerging as a component of precision agriculture and contribute to sustainable agriculture. He added that the adoption of modern technologies in agriculture, such as drones, can significantly enhance risk and damage assessments and revolutionize the way for agricultural management. Presently, farmers face many problems like unavailability or high cost of labor, health problems by coming into contact with chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) while applying them in the field, bite by insects or animals, etc. In this context, drones can also help farmers in avoiding these troubles. He said that Drones help farmers optimize inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, water, and pesticides more efficiently. It benefits a wide range of customers, from farmers and growers to agricultural cooperation and service agencies. Digital, informative, intelligent, and precise management solutions can easily be extended for commercial crops such as sugarcane, cotton, citrus trees, apple trees, tea plants, etc.
A large number of participants asked their queries during the interaction session, and the experts answered them. Coordinators of the participating institutes of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan from Uttarakhand and Western Uttar Pradesh, farmers, villagers, Pradhan, Sarpanch, and the Professors and students from the IIT Roorkee joined the Workshop.