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Ministry of Agriculture offers financial assistance to promote drones in farming

The ministry looks to spur drone applications in agriculture by making grants of varying amounts available to select entities.

Assistance for the purchase, hiring, and demonstrations of agriculture drones will be provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) which notified funding guidelines in a memorandum on January 17. These guidelines have been issued under the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) Scheme. Up to ₹10 lakhs, as grant funding for drone purchases, will be made available to Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes (FMTTIs), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), and State Agriculture Universities, the Ministry said. These guidelines, which come after the Drone Rules 2021 recently took effect, could potentially increase the usage of drones in the agricultural sector. Various states including Telangana have been experimenting with the applications of UAVs in farming and allied sectors. Separate financial grants for purchasing drones to use in farms The Ministry has laid down the following types of financial assistance that will be provided under SMAM: 75% of grant funding for drone purchase to Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs). Rs 6,000 per hectare to be given as contingent expenditure to implementing agencies that hire drones for drone demonstrations. Rs 3000 per hectare to be given as contingent expenditure to implementing agencies that buy drones for drone demonstrations. Up to ₹4 lakhs of grant funding for drone purchase to existing Custom Hiring Centres which are set up by Cooperative Society of Farmers, FPOs & Rural entrepreneurs. Up to ₹5 lakhs of grant funding for drone purchase to agriculture graduates establishing Custom Hiring Centres. CHCs/Hi-tech Hubs providing drone agricultural services…

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