Andhra Pradesh farmers’ battle against pests gets innovative

An engineering graduate’s ingenuity is helping farmers of the delta region save their crops from the virulent pest attacks.

V. Sudhir, a native of Tumuluru village near Tenali, has started assembling drones with parts imported from China and using them.

“I was thinking of doing jobs after completing B.Tech. But I hit upon the idea of assembling drones to spray pesticide. I assembled a drone and tried to spray pesticide and it yielded result. Spraying with the help of drones will ensure that the pesticide sticks to the leaves and the plant, which helps in building resistance against pests,” claims Mr. Sudhir.

The innovative practice is the latest in the series of revolutions sweeping the Krishna western delta region, billed as the rice bowl of the State.

It was in this fertile region that the farmers had experimented successfully with direct sowing of paddy, worked to produce the highest per-acre yield of maize in the country. And now, they are using drones to spray pesticide.

For many years, the dreaded cut worm has wreaked havoc on the vast swathes of maize. The Taiwanese sprayers have worked for some time. But in the long run, they have proved ineffective and, as a result, the farmers have not been getting remunerative price for the produce.

The use of drones for spraying pesticide has proved successful.

Many benefits

Farmers fill the tank below the drone with the chemical and map the area on Google. The drone is then allowed to fly and spray pesticide. It takes just two hours to complete spraying in over eight acres. In contrast, the traditional sprayer takes at least 90 minutes to complete the job in one acre.

“We have started using drones to spray pesticide in maize fields. We are able to save water too, as its needs just 10 litres. Earlier, we had to use 200 litres of water. Drones are also saving us the manpower. Besides, we run lesser risk of being affected by the harmful pesticides,” says Alla Gopireddy of Kollipara village.

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