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The Andhra Pradesh government is planning use the drone technology in soil testing and mapping. It will hold discussions with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) next month to launch a project to assess soil conditions.
The Gates Foundation has “successfully implemented similar project” in South Africa. The project is intended to assess the soil conditions in different geographies and on the basis of it get suitable crops grown to achieve the best results. Crop monitoring is another important component.
During its visit towards the end of September, the BMGF team will discuss on the types of soils, agro-climatic zones and other aspects before grounding the project later. Coming to the deployment of drones, experts from the BMGF and other agencies will take imagery of the soils across the State and extrapolate it with the soil sample data to make appropriate recommendations to the farmers. The data will be transmitted to the departments concerned on a real-time basis. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will be holding discussions with a delegation of the Foundation in Amaravati on September 28 and 29 to firm up the partnership.
In a teleconference with district collectors, elected representatives and officials of various departments in Vijayawada on Monday, Naidu said, “It is a unique experiment that forms a part of the government’s endeavour to adapt the latest technologies in the agriculture sector and it was imperative that the farmers have a reliable database of the diverse soil conditions which have a direct bearing on the yields.”
A similar plan implemented by the BMGF in the United States, South Africa and some other countries has led to a marked improvement in agricultural activity and it has decided to replicate that model in Andhra Pradesh under the guidance of scientists drawn from abroad and in India, he said.
Chief Secretary of the State, Dinesh Kumar, Special Commissioner of Agriculture Hari Jawaharlal and Real Time Governance CEO, Babu A. and others were among those who discussed the modalities of the project.
The government is planning using drone technology for real time governance and an academy should be developed to impart training for the maintenance and operation of drones. The government has also plans to use the technology in tourism, mines, forests, irrigation projects, maintenance of law and order and better municipal administration.