Iran’s agriculture ministry says it is encouraging the use of drones on farms across the country through offering cheap loans to farmers and launching information campaigns to boost the application of the technology.
Head of the ministry’s Agriculture Mechanization Expansion Center said on Tuesday that demand and use of drones in the Iranian farms had risen three-fold since the start of the current calendar year in late March compared to the previous year.
Kambiz Abbasi said that 12 domestic companies have supplied 65 models and brands of drones for use in the Iranian agriculture sector, adding that the number of drones used in the farms has increased to reach nearly 460 units.
Abbasi said drones are mostly used for spraying pesticide in the Iranian farms, adding that they have also been used to apply fertilizers, for pollination and for sowing seed in farms in remote regions.
Iran’s agriculture sector has reported consecutive periods of growth over the past years amid increased government support for the sector which is aimed at boosting exports and creating more jobs for the country’s youth.
Experts say growth in agriculture output and exports has played a major role in Iran’s efforts to offset the impacts of American sanctions on the country’s economy.
Abbasi said the agriculture ministry has launched information campaigns to encourage the use of drones by farmers across Iran while cooperating with various authorities in the country to ensure the drones would not pose any security risks in areas they are used.
The official said the government currently offers cheap 7-year loans to farmers to help them pay for nearly 80% of the costs of owning a drone.
He said that the agriculture ministry expects the number of drones in Iranian farms to increase by 200-250 units per year as a result of its support program.