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  • Writer's pictureNana Boatemaa Sem-Danso

Drone Surveying will accelerate Big Agro-business across Africa

From the lush wine provinces of Cape Town to massive cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast, Africa can easily be described as an agricultural haven, which has been viewed by the rest of the world as highly untapped. With major funding agencies such as the African Development Bank willing to support massive agro projects across the continent, why then is agricultural growth still slow in Africa?

I believe the continent has been slow to adapt to a new technology that have been proven to push the boundaries of agriculture across the world, known as Precision Agriculture. This concept being employed in developed nations is a certain way to guarantee yields and increase production. Farmers in Europe and America have taken control of each step in the agricultural process with the aid of technology, not leaving their post-harvest yields to chance.

Drone technology has emerged as one of the key ways to transform agriculture and is one of the main pillars of precision agriculture as drones are applied at each stage: Pre-planting, Planting, Monitoring, Harvest and Post harvest. This article throws light on the use of drone technology at the inception (Pre-planting stage) of large agricultural projects (5000 Hectare and over ).

In my experience gained from working on projects for indigenous African farmers, I realized that many of the challenges they face throughout their crop-cycle is mostly due to poor planning at project inception.

Some of these challenges include:

- Poor drainage across their large plantations

- Poor Irrigation planning

- Poor sectoring and blocking of farms

- Inadequate planning for farm infrastructure

- Failure to understand general farm topography

Due to these issues, farmers try to improvise after planting which usually leads to the loss of money.

A drone survey (which is a fast, accurate and cost-effective way of surveying large farmlands, 5000 Ha+)is essential at the beginning of every major farming project to determine an accurate topographic profile of the farm property.The topographical profile generated from the survey is used by farm planners and agronomists to:

- Plan drainage and potential water sources for irrigation.

- Design farm infrastructure such as culverts, barns and storage facilities.

- Accurately divide farms into blocks for effective planting and crop monitoring.

-Accurately determine the total size of farmland to be cultivated.

- Manage crop planting methods and general farm management.

- Put in place erosion prevention techniques based on the topography of farm.

Aerial surveys at the pre-planting stage tend to be a key difference between successful large scale agricultural projects and projects that fail. It is no surprise that farmers all over the world are now adopting drone surveying at the start of their projects. According to Goldman Sachs, the global agricultural drone market will be estimated at over USD 6 billion in the next 5 years due to its proven efficacy in Agriculture.

Topographical Drone Data

Africa as a continent needs to adopt drones massively in all agricultural processes especially at the inception or pre-planting stage. Drone-surveying provides the right foundation for a successful agricultural project and will be a catalyst in solving food scarcity gaps whilst boosting the success of large scale agricultural projects across Africa.

Interested in a World-class drone survey for your large scale farm? Contact Axis Drone Surveys. We serve clients across Africa!

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