Crop-spraying drone developed in India shown at first-ever Indian International Textile Machinery Exhibition held in Africa
A flying drone aimed at automating the delivery of pesticides on crops such as cotton and flax used to make textiles caused a buzz at the first-ever Indian International Textile Machinery Exhibition held in Africa on 14-15 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The drone – dubbed the AgriCopter – was developed in India in 2018 by a group of students from the Indian Institute of Technology of Madras. The drone can help stem deaths from exposure to pesticides, reduce farm drudgery and increase automation in the agricultural industry. It is estimated that more than 10,000 farmers die each year in India because of manual chemical spraying methods.
ITC, through its Supporting Indian Trade in Africa (SITA) programme, helped facilitate the demonstration of drone technology.
‘We are super excited and grateful to ITC and India ITME Society for providing us a global platform to share our vision and our work towards automation in farms leveraging drone technology,” said Mr. Rishabh Verma, team leader of the AgriCopter project.
Many of the team come from a farming background with first-hand knowledge of the harmful effects of manual spraying. The AgriCopter completely automates pesticide spraying, increases spray speeds by 30 to 50 times and completely eliminates human contact with toxic chemicals.
The 22-kilo drone could have a meaningful impact on farmers in a country like India where 30% of crops are lost due to pests every year. Project AgriCopter works with people from local farming communities to ensure the implementation of this technology even in the smallest of the farms.
The demonstration at ITME Africa 2020, the textiles machinery show in Addis Ababa is thought to be the first time that African farmers has had a chance to see how the AgriCopter could help automate their processes.
The drone was presented to Ms. Dorothy Tembo, acting Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, State Minister at Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry Teka Gebreyesus and His Excellency Anurag Srivastava, India’s ambassador to Ethiopia.