Government to use drone technology to spray fertilizer | Daily News

Government to use drone technology to spray fertilizer

Creating agricultural history, the Government will launch a mega drive to use drones to spray fertilizer and a separate unit will be set up in each electoral district for this purpose.

State Minister of Production and Supply of Fertilizer and Regulation of Chemical Fertilizer, Mohan P. De Silva told the Daily News that the first trial was successfully done last year in Panwila, Galle, using drones to spray organic fertilizer on paddy fields.

State Minister Mohan P. De Silva launching the drone project

“Post studies from the venue found out that this trial was very successful and now we want to commercialize this.”

Drones were rented from a private company and technology in this regard was acquired from Universities a while another private entity provided the liquid organic fertilizer for this trail which cost around Rs. 2 million.

“However now we have found cost effective ways to broad-base this launch as a commercial venture offering the service at a fee to paddy farmers.”

One of the mega advantages of this is that the process can be done with minimum human intervention and it also covers a larger area in a shorter time. “Hence we now plan to set up mini mobile ‘drones spray fertilizer’ units in several areas and operate them on a commercial basis thus covering the investment.”

Commenting on use of chemical fertilizer, De Silva said that the government has invested around Rs. 1 billion in 2021 to reduce chemical fertilizer and make farmers shift towards the use of organic fertilizer while also enforcing a ban of imports. The import bill of fertilizer was around USD 400 million. “Opposition is trying to create a picture that the chemical fertilizer ban was imposed to save foreign exchange which is not true.”

The election manifesto of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa clearly spells out that the government will curb excessive use of the fertilizer and shift towards use of organic material. This will also have additional price when exporting agro produce as there is a global demand for organic food.”

He said that there is a common myth that yields reduce when organic fertilizer is used. “People who say this have forgotten about the health hazards of the use of chemical fertilizer.” The Minister said that they are now using the services of microbiologists,scientists and Nano technology to add more value to organic fertilizer especially in the liquid organic fertilizer segment.

This move is also a part of the government’s policy to modernize agricultural production with new technologies. “Sri Lanka’s vision is to be the first country in the world to discontinue the use of chemical fertilizer and shift as a100% organic fertilizer using the country.”