Exploring innovation for youth: the Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) continental briefing
According to the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the use of Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones for management of crops, livestock, fisheries, forests and other natural resource-based activities represents a new technological frontier and opens up a range of exciting opportunities. However, their effective use in the sector in Africa will highly depend on how African states will move to regulate their operation.
This emerged from the discussions held during the Pan African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) continental briefing that was held in Ghana from 7th to 9th October 2016.
The briefing, organised with support from CTA, focused on youth and agricultural technology. It enabled to explore innovative and successful agribusiness ideas as well as new business opportunities available for youth. Issues of climate change and climate smart agriculture were also discussed.
UAVs are capable of capturing data with high resolution that enable the operators to see images in greater detail than a standard camera. In addition, the technology could be used for determining nutrients needs of plants, crop stress, water stress, crop disease, credit rating, damage inspection, surveying, cadastral surveying, phenotyping, crop count, stockpile estimates, infrastructure inspection, leakage location, livestock tracking, and disaster assessment.
In particular, the added value of UAVs was explored (e.g. UAVs are capable of capturing data with high resolution and the technology could be used for determining nutrients needs of plants, crop and water stress, crop disease, credit rating, damage inspection, surveying, phenotyping, crop count, stockpile estimates, infrastructure inspection, disaster assessment etc.) and main constraints limiting its use analysed (e.g. scale, costs and regulations that in some cases limit or prohibit the use of drones).
Also, young entrepreneurs who participated in the briefing were accorded a chance to practice how to operate the UAVs in a pineapple field.
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Source and photo credit: SACAU