For centuries, technology and smarter solutions in general have been focal to agriculture.
The sustained rise in the global population has further necessitated innovations which serve to meet the high demand for food. One such innovation takes the form of agricultural aerial vehicles, alternatively known as agricultural drones.
What Are Agricultural Drones?
Agricultural drones are devices that offer farmers a bird’s-eye view of crops, livestock and the soil as a whole. Through the attendant imaging, farmers can preempt and promptly address latent issues, and effectively oversee their fields.
Farmers also use agricultural drones to administer irrigation. Farmers leverage this aerial advantage by incorporating sprinklers, sensors and photographic tools to effectively achieve their desired objective. Livestock farmers also rely on agricultural drones for loosely similar objectives.
Global demand for agricultural drones, typically by large-scale farmers, is also growing. Having accrued an estimated valuation of $1.2 billion in 2020, analysts have projected that the agricultural drone market would rise to over $6 billion in 2026. The defining feature of a larger concept, known as precision agriculture, also serves climate needs.
How Agricultural Drones Work
Agricultural drones encompass a data collection system that rivals that of larger aircraft in terms of precision. This data collection begins with the drone acquiring the GPS information of the field in question. The agricultural drone then proceeds based on the flight trajectory after the IT personnel affiliated with the farmers have logged into the drone.
During the flight, the agricultural drones collect the required data using the tools attached and upload the data for the IT personnel to assess. Finally, the IT personnel operates on the data and forwards the same to the farmers for interpretation and decision-making.
The Applicability of Agricultural Drones in Nigeria
The affordability of agricultural drones is gradually diminishing globally. Depending on the policy decisions of the Nigerian government and increased access to credit facilities, more Nigerian farmers may gravitate towards agricultural drone usage and precision farming as a whole.
Farmers in Nigeria are gradually gravitating towards agricultural drone usage. However, the lack of awareness and operational costs may inhibit farmers from maximising the potential of these drones.
Even if more Nigerian farmers get acquainted with this technology, there is still the need to offset data costs, maintain the drones and pay IT officials. This puts small-scale farmers at a disadvantage, as large-scale farmers are more disposed to handle these expenses.
This current state of affairs requires taking baby steps and ensuring that government policies on agriculture mandate the government to invest in smaller farmers by procuring and providing low-cost drones.
The government can also foster private-sector partnerships in this regard, possibly hinging its efforts on the much-needed diversification of the national economy.