The Central Insecticide Board has given its approval to seed and agri-solution major Syngenta India to use drones to spray its fungicide Amistar Top on the paddy crop. This fungicide is used to protect the crop against infections such as Blast & Sheath Blight.
Syngenta said it is the first private entity to get such an approval for spraying agrochemicals, after submitting safety and bio efficacy data. The approval was granted on the basis of the data generated from the state government notified agricultural universities and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research on crop safety and other relevant parameters as per Standard Operating Procedure.
“The government has also accorded ad-hoc but conditional approval for 477 registered pesticides that can be used in agriculture via Drone spray which includes insecticides, fungicides, and plant growth regulators, out of which around 40 formulations are of Syngenta,” the company said in a statement on Monday. The Central Insecticide Board functions under the agriculture ministry.
“We are also evaluating the use of our solutions through drones in different crops like cotton, soybean, groundnut, hot pepper, red gram, corn, rice in Maharashtra,” Sunil Kurchania, head, crop protection development (research and development) Syngenta India, said.
For promoting the use of drones in agriculture and other sectors, the government had notified Drone Rules in August 2021. The rules replaced the complex approval process required to fly drones and introduced a much easier certification process.
In 2021, the government had released a comprehensive SOP on drone application for pesticides use. According to the agriculture ministry, the SOPs cover aspects like statutory provisions, flying permissions, area distance restrictions, weight classification, overcrowded areas restriction, drone registration, safety insurance, piloting certification, operation plan, air flight zones, weather conditions.
These SOPs also include SOPs for pre-, post- and during operation period, emergency handling plan, etc. Drone operators should use only approved pesticides and their formulations at approved concentration and height.