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This tech-savvy farmer’s use of drones makes him a sensation

41-year-old Linga Reddy is a small farmer from Thanakundru village in Nizamabad district of Telangana. Reddy has turned into a sensation in his village, and is being mobbed by local journalists for special interviews after they learnt that he is using drone technology for farming. 
 
Reddy owns two and a half acres of land, and has another 5 acres of land on lease to cultivate paddy. In a bid to reduce the cost of production in farming, he bought a customised drone from a startup in Vijayawada earlier in February. Reddy is using the drone for spraying pesticides on his crop. This change in farming has reduced the physical labour and the man hours spent on spraying pesticides manually, he claims.
 
“For spraying the pesticides, you have to hire two persons, and it will take at least an hour to spray the pesticide for just one acre. The labourers charge Rs. 600 per acre. Whereas my drone finishes the task within 15 minutes and I don’t need the help of anybody else,” Linga Reddy tells TNM.
 
Though Reddy has just studied till Class 10, his fascination for machines and curiosity to learn never ended, he says. This curiosity led him to keep an eye out for the modern techniques farmers in advanced countries like Israel and China have adopted for agriculture and to increase the productivity. 
 
“Israeli farmers use drones for such purposes, so I thought why shouldn’t we emulate the same.” Reddy has spent a sizeable amount of Rs. 6 lakh to buy the drone, which has a 10-litre capacity. However, he says that the investment is well worth it. 
 
Reddy has now also turned into an entrepreneur, by renting out his drone for the farmers in his village and other neighbouring villages. “I am charging Rs. 350 per acre. Others are also happy with the drone because of its efficiency. If a person gets into the field to spray manually, the crops get damaged, but the drone covers the entire field without damaging the crops,” he says.
 
Reddy claims that the big farmers in the village are now considering buying drones for farming. “After seeing me, other farmers too have shown interest in this machine. Spraying pesticides manually has a lot of health hazards. Some die after accidentally inhaling the pesticide, some develop problems in kidneys etc. This can be averted by using drones,” Reddy says.
 

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