Mr Gadkari said he has discussed with his two cabinet colleagues the need to draft a policy on using the drone technology in the farm sector.
He was addressing farmers and others present at the closing ceremony of ‘Agrovision’ exhibition in Nagpur. The Lok Sabha MP from Nagpur is the chief patron of Agrovision, an annual summit on agriculture.
Union MSME minister Narayan Rane visited the exhibition on Monday, while Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had attended the inaugural function of the four-day event on December 24.
Mr Gadkari, talking about various opportunities in the agriculture sector, said, “I discussed with Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union MSME minister Narayan Rane (the need) to work on preparing a policy on (use of) drones in the farm sector.”
“Drone is related with agro and MSME, and drones alone can generate about 50 lakh jobs in the rural sector in one year. Besides, it will benefit farmers too,” he maintained.
The minister, citing his own example of deploying drones in his farm, stressed on cutting down on mechanised spraying of pesticides.
Mr Gadkari said a drone, powered by lithium-ion battery, would cost around ₹ 6 lakh, while the same unmanned aerial vehicle with flex engine and run on ethanol fuel, would come at much cheaper price of around ₹ 1.5 lakh.
The Road Transport and Highways Minister said spraying of pesticides from drones will need ‘pilots’ for operating them and this will open up huge job prospects.
Last week, Mr Tomar had released a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the use of drones in the farm sector, including for spraying pesticides as well as other soil and crop nutrients.
The adoption of drone technology is the need of the hour and it will benefit farmers, Mr Tomar had said.