Agri drone manufacturer IoTechWorld Avigation is targeting to sell 3,000 drones this fiscal, a six-fold jump from the previous year, on rising demand mainly from agrochemical firms and agriculture universities.
Start-up IoTechWorld, which was founded in 2017 by Deepak Bhardwaj and Anoop Upadhyay, has a manufacturing facility in Gurugram. It sells agri drones at about Rs 7.5 lakh plus GST.
Agrochemical player Dhanuka Agritech in 2021 announced an investment of Rs 30 crore in IoTechWorld for a minority stake.
"We sold around 500 agri drones during the last fiscal year as against 100 drones in 2021-22," IoTechWorld Avigation co-founder Deepak Bhardwaj said on the sidelines of an event on Saturday.
The company celebrated 6th foundation day and launched a new agri drone which is more compact and foldable, thereby easy to transport.
"We could not fulfill the entire orders last fiscal because of the shortage of chips," he said.
Bhardwaj said the demand is primarily from agrochemical players, agriculture universities and other government bodies.
Asked about turnover, Bhardwaj said it was around Rs 45 crore last fiscal and is set to jump multiple times in line with growth in volumes.
Upadhyay said the company is getting a lot of enquiries from foreign countries like Russia, Brazil and South East Asia, and it will hopefully start exporting drones from this fiscal year.
Although IotechWorld will continue to focus on agri-drones, he said the company might explore supplying drones in defence and logistics sectors.
"We are seeing a lot of opportunities for use of drones in precision agriculture and forest management," Upadhyay said.
The government's subsidy schemes have helped a lot in boosting demand for agri-drones, said both the co-founders. In February, IoTechWorld partnered with Syngenta India for facilitating the introduction of drone spraying across India.
Under this agreement, the two companies will work on creating employment opportunities for rural youth by training and preparing them for using drones.
"In next year, we are targeting 2,000 agri-entrepreneurs who will provide services to farmers," Bhardwaj said, adding that it would be a profitable business for them.
Bhardwaj highlighted the benefits of the use of agri drones and said it takes only 7 minutes to spray agrochemicals in one acre of land.
That apart, spraying pesticides with the use of drones could boost yield because of uniform applications of chemicals in the field.
In June last year, The Civil Aviation Ministry awarded the first Type Certificate (TC) under Drone Rules, 2021 to IoTechWorld Avigation Pvt Ltd.
The Drone Rules, 2021 were notified on 25 August 2021 and the 'Certification Scheme for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CSUAS)' for obtaining Type Certificate (TC) for drones was notified on 26 January 2022.