“Drone Didi is a big game changer for agritech” says Dhanashri Mandhani CEO Salam Kisan

New Delhi: During the ‘Startup Mahakumbh’ at Bharat Mandapam, Dhanashri Mandhani, the Founder and CEO of Salam Kisan and Prime Aerospace, spoke on how the Drone Didi initiative was a big game changer in terms of capacity building for agritech.

Mandhani is optimistic about these government initiatives emphasizing their potential to catalyze positive change in the agricultural landscape. Salam Kisan has actively participated in these initiatives, training the first female drone pilot in Maharashtra.

“These drones again would become eligible for the government subsidy once we get our Type C certification from DGCA that we’ve applied for. So I see the drone Didi Yojana, the drone Swaraj Yojana as very big game changers in terms of training, in terms of capacity building and in terms of even subsidized drone, like availing subsidized drone for farmers” Mandhani said in an interview with ANI.

“All of these, schemes and subsidies are going to be game changers in the drone industry, which is at a potential of one USD 78 billion by 2030 for the Indian economy,” she added.

The entrepreneur also feels that Drones will add more than 500,000 jobs in the country.

“Drones are already going to add to 500,000 jobs in the country, it’s going to add to the GDP by 1.5 per cent. And this is just the drone industry. But when I speak about agriculture as well with the Agri tech penetration, in the country, agriculture is already such a huge part of the nations, the nation’s economy, but its projected at a USD 600 billion growth by 2030” Mandhani said.

There is no concrete data on the percentage of farmers using drones in India, but an American consulting firm predicts that the use of drones in the agriculture sector will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.5 per cent, reaching USD 121.43 million by 2030.

In 2022, the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare introduced a subsidy ranging from 40-50 per cent on drones for different groups of farmers across India to help them simplify agricultural practices and improve food production.

The Centre has also approved a scheme to provide drones to 15,000 women self-help groups for rental services to farmers for agriculture purposes.

Mandhani’s passion for innovation led her to establish Prime Aerospace, a subsidiary company focused on developing specialized farming drones to address the specific needs of Indian farmers.

“At Prime Aerospace, our subsidiary company, we’ve engineered a farming drone to assist farmers with pesticide spraying. We embarked on this endeavor due to the numerous operational challenges plaguing existing drones in the country” Mandhani said.

“Recognizing the need for innovation, we endeavored to create a solution that addresses these challenges head-on. Our drones boast a remarkable spraying time of 7 to 8 minutes and hold a capacity of 16 liters. They’re meticulously designed to mitigate the operational hurdles faced by farmers on the ground” she added.

Mandhani revealed that these drones have already made a significant impact, conserving an impressive 56,00,000 liters of water over the past year alone

“Notably, our efforts have already resulted in the conservation of an astounding 56,00,000 liters of water over the past year, marking a significant stride towards sustainability in farming,” she said.

“Drone as a spraying service where farmers can avail this spraying service through our mobile application for Rs 500 to Rs 600 per acre. So that’s the service part of it” she added.

Mandhani shared the vision and the initiatives her company is spearheading to revolutionize Indian agriculture. At the core of Salam Kisan’s offerings lies their cutting-edge AI-driven platform, which provides farmers with invaluable insights and services ranging from crop calendars to precision agricultural tools such as soil testing.

“Agriculture stands as the primary source of livelihood for over 70 percent of rural India. It’s imperative that we do not overlook its significance, particularly in our generation. With the increasing adoption and penetration of technology among rural and urban youth alike, agriculture emerges as the next major frontier of opportunity” she said.

Believing fervently in the power of technology to transform traditional farming practices, entrepreneurs like Mandhani are bridging the gap between age-old techniques and modern innovations. (ANI)


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