ai kerala plantation sector: AI, machine learning systems, drones show new-age face of Kerala’s plantation sector

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based irrigation systems, drones for targeted spraying of pesticides and automation were the technological advances showcased at the Kerala Plantation Expo on Sunday. The expo was inaugurated by state industries minister P Rajeev.

Industries and commerce director S Harikishore, who is special officer, plantation, said the sector was thoroughly mechanised today with the influx of startups in the modern times.

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“As technological equipment leads to decreased cost of production, more planters are going for mechanisation,” he said in a release issued by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC).

Automation is employed in a big way in irrigation as well as spraying of pesticides across plantations, besides diagnosis of pests infesting crops, the release said

As many as 166 stalls by 120 entrepreneurs were open for the public at the expo organised by the Plantation Directorate of the State Industries Department.

They showcased drones, which are integral to spraying pesticides, by both private and governmental companies besides that by entities such as Campco (Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Co-operative Limited).

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“The drones, after aerial surveys, locate plants infected with diseases. Technology facilitates spraying of pesticides on just those plants, based on data sent to the drone. This gadget has several takers,” the release said. Besides that, drip irrigation, which operates on the basis of artificial intelligence and machine learning, was also on display along with equipment based on the famed Israeli irrigation system, it said.

“The specimens facilitate watering of crops in farms as big as 100 acres to small kitchen gardens at the domestic level. The advanced among them can be operated with just the press on mobile phones,” it said.

Furthermore, the expo also featured fully-automated administrative operations of farms and procurement of products and data of the labourers, the release said.

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