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Syngenta India Gets Government's Approval to Use Drones to Spray Fungicide

The company termed this as a landmark move to scale up the use of drones in agriculture, following PM Narendra Modi’s push for the technology.

Binita Kumari
Syngenta’s stewardship team is fully geared up to educate the farmers/ drone service agencies to strictly follow all the conditions and precautions as prescribed by DGCA.
Syngenta’s stewardship team is fully geared up to educate the farmers/ drone service agencies to strictly follow all the conditions and precautions as prescribed by DGCA.

The Central Insecticide Board, the Regulatory Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture has approved Syngenta India for drone spray of its fungicide Amistar Top on paddy to protect the crop against fungal infections, blast & sheath blight. Another product of Syngenta Ampligo which is a mixture of two different modes of action active ingredients has also been approved by the 438th Registration Committee. 

Syngenta is among the first companies to get approval for spraying agrochemicals by the regulatory authorities after submission of safety and bio efficacy data. 

Syngenta has been a pioneer in the arena of application technology including Drone after testing in their in-house profiling trials and subsequently on larger plots after ascertaining good efficacy and no crop phytotoxicity issues.

The trials have been replicated for Regulatory approvals in institutes accredited by the Government of India. Based on the data generated from State Government notified agricultural universities/ ICAR bodies on crop safety and other relevant parameters as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) published by the Government, the Union Agriculture Ministry and the Central Insecticides Board are granting regular approvals.

The company termed this as a landmark move to scale up the use of drones in agriculture, following PM Narendra Modi’s push for the technology. Syngenta says this shall pave way for immense possibilities and “usher Indian agriculture into a new era of technology-led growth and innovative pursuits by farmers and farming communities. Syngenta’s stewardship team is fully geared up to educate the farmers/ drone service agencies to strictly follow all the conditions and precautions as prescribed by DGCA. 

“We are happy that Syngenta’s Amistar Top is among the first products to have received approval from the Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee, Government of India. This shall help in the faster application of the solution and will ensure uniform spraying coverage of crops to minimize losses due to pests,” said KC Ravi, Chief Sustainability Officers, Syngenta India Pvt Ltd.

The company also informed that it is engaging with agriculture universities and Drone service providers to educate the stakeholders for proper use. “We are working on drone research with various leading agricultural universities. We are also evaluating the use of our solutions through drones in different crops like Cotton, Soybean, groundnut, Hot pepper, Red gram, Corn, and Rice in Maharashtra. We’ve developed the in-house capability for evaluation of our products through drones at all four Syngenta R&D hubs located across India,” said Sunil Kurchania, Head Crop Protection Development (R&D) India.

Syngenta said it is extremely happy for the farmers, as this innovation will help take its solutions to unreachable zones. Drones also drastically reduce the time required to apply solutions, besides helping farmers overcome the challenge of covering large tracts of fields in a short time. It also promises to help in monitoring crops, plantations, livestock management, and even geo-fencing among others.

“Various invasive pests are entering the country every year and farmers have not been able to use innovative solutions to cover large acreages within a short period. Drones will help bridge such gaps. A recent example is how the government deployed drones to control locusts in many districts of Rajasthan in 2020,” added Kumar.

The Government has also announced a performance-linked incentive of Rs 120 cr, which shall further boost the manufacturing of drones, and their large-scale adoption in agriculture. “This is a win-win for all. Syngenta is also exploring the possibility of training rural youth as Agri entrepreneurs who could use Kisan Drones as a service to spray pesticides thereby increasing crop yields besides generating additional employment in rural areas,” added Ravi.

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