Hyderabad: Hyderabad-based Marut Dronetech’s afforestation vertical Seedcopter, involved in the UAV aerial seeding, has been awarded a grant of Rs 25 lakhs for its environmental drive. The company visualises a community-centric drone reforestation programme to recover thinned down, degraded and fragmented forests. Its products and processes are backed by rigorous scientific research.
This grant was given as part of WE Incubation Program run by CIE-IIIT Hyderabad, one of the largest and oldest deeptech academic incubators in India, along with funding partner Pernod Ricard India Foundation (PRIF), a wholly owned subsidiary of Pernod Ricard India.
Women & Community empowerment is a major component of Seedcopter’s business model. They are working with women in the project areas to collaboratively build and maintain these forests, which will help sustainability in these areas for both forests and citizens.
Prem Kumar Vislawath, founder & CEO of Marut Dronetech says, “Seedcopter has been conceptualised in the light of India’s commitment to restore an additional five million hectares of degraded land by 2030, raising the land to be restored in India to 26 million hectares. We believe that the goal is not just achievable but could be achieved well within target with the application of drone technology.”
“Through our projects we have empowered over a 100 hundred women till date to seed over 400 ha of forests. As the scale and scope of reforestation increases, we see an increased dividend to these women, not just through our business requirement but also through forest produce that they can utilise as traditional right. Our product has been designed to plant up to 1,000 seeds per drone flight at the rate of one seed ball per second,” he added.
Seedcopter is coordinating with Research & Innovation Circle Hyderabad and Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University to further research into improving the impact field.
Sunil Duggal, VP-Corporate Affairs and Sustainability & Responsibility, Pernod Ricard India, said, “Through the ‘We’ Program, Pernod Ricard India has endeavoured to enable entrepreneurs with most innovative women and communities’ empowerment ideas to shape their vision into sustainable impact.”
Ramesh Loganathan, COO, CIE-IIITH says, “Seedcopter is an interesting premise with potential to address large scale forest distress.”
As part of several projects, Seedcopter deployed a drone to disperse over 15,000 seeds, covering 320 ha within a single day at Veeranapalli forest of Sircilla in Telangana, as part of Telangana government’s flagship ‘Haritha Haram’ project. The seed balls were made by the women from the local community and with local resources, ensuring no invasive species are introduced in the ecosystem.