Kerala Agriculture Minister leads agro-technology drive

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 5 (IANS) Kerala’s ruling communists are now eagerly embracing the path of technological upgradation in the agrarian sector with the state’s young Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar providing a prime example.

Speaking to IANS here, the 52-year-old Kumar said he has set up a full fledged “Mission Mechanisation Programme” in his department where a registry is currently being prepared of all the machinery owned by the department.

“As part of it we have currently repaired machines like, tractors, tillers, weed cutters and similar agricultural implements. We have put back machines worth Rs 3.40 crore and this would be available for farmers. For this the agriculture department will work closely with them. An app is also getting ready where farmers can have a look at what all equipment is available in their locality,” said Kumar.

The registry would very soon include such machines and equipment that are available with farmers and can be given out for rent, he said.

” The biggest addition that has already undergone field trials is an agro-drone which can be used for spraying fertilizers, micronutrients and pesticides. Next month this will be officially launched in Thrissur. We are working out a protocol for this drone for when it will be used for spraying chemicals as here the safety of society has to be taken into account.

“In this agro-drone, everything can be pre-programmed and controlled and this task would be done by the agricultural officer of the locality,” Kumar added.

Speaking to IANS, 23-year-old aeronautical engineer C. Devan, who along with his two other partners have made the agro-drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) said that it cost them around Rs 15 lakh.

“For the past one year, this drone was subjected to regular field trials. We showed this to Minister Kumar. After he was convinced of our drone, he put it across to the Kerala Agricultural University. The officials there have also cleared our drone and it’s going to be officially launched next month,” Devan said.

Elaborating, he said this drone can complete the spraying of on one acre of land in three minutes, while a manual labour would take a day for the same task.

“In all we have five drones and one is being used to sow seeds,” added Devan.

Speaking to IANS, Kerala State Agricultural Mechanisation Mission CEO U. Jayakumaran said that things are falling into place and they have completed the preparation of the registry.

” The department today has over 4,000 farm equipment in 14 categories and an app is also getting ready for the farmers to look for what is available in one’s locality. The contact points for the farmers would be the state run agri-resources centres and the ‘Karshika Karsha Sena’ (skilled workforce), who are trained to operate this machinery,” Jayakumaran said.

Currently, there are around 89 resource centres and close to 300 ‘Sena’ (each ‘Sena’ comprises of about 15 to 30 trained work force).

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