Technology in Agriculture has come a long way! Although most African still farm the traditional way, other famers have began to acknowledge the importance of modern science and how it can assist minimalize effort and maximize production.
Togolose farmers have increasingly been opting to use drones in their farming processes to achieve numerous objectives, objectives that would require a lot of time and effort if done by people.
By flying over these plantations, technicians on site have a number of objectives, including to collect data to help in soil fertilization.
The drones are also used by technicians to detect diseases and propose appropriate treatments. The modern approach is a relief to local farmers.
”Their way of spraying is better than our way. We need to walk through the crop to do the spraying, which damages the commodities because we walk on the rice. But they do not touch the field because everything is done in the air. We prefer their method”, said producer, Carlos Sanve.
The company known as E-Agri Sky was birth at E-Agri Business, an approach to modernize agri-business.
At this certification center, young people come from all over the continent come to get online or in-person training in digital agriculture.
”I would say that Africa is a bit behind in the use of these digital tools. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t say that it is a delay but it is a lack of will. I used to watch movies and see just white people doing it and I thought when can we get there? But since we got into it, we’ve seen that we’ve done really good. We have encountered difficulties but we adapt these digital tools to our African context”, said E-Agri Sky Coordinator, Pascal Tsekpui.
Agriculture in Togo represent 86% of rural households and contributes 40% of the national wealth. That’s nearly 4 million farmers out of a population of 7 million inhabitants.
Drones usher in small revolution in rice growing
Drone used to be the exclusive preserve of the security sector. But they also happen to be great agricultural tools and their use is changing the face of rice farming in Togo.
Adenyo Koffi uses spraying drones to apply crop protection products to his 10-hectare rice farm in the southern Togo town of Assomé. These flying machines are cheaper Koffi, who now spends just 80,000 CFA francs (€122) thanks to drone technology, whereas he used to shell out 150,000 CFA francs to have farm workers apply pesticides to rice crops each season.
Drones also reduce the time it takes to apply such products to rice fields – 15 minutes versus three hours per hectare – and limit farm workers’ exposure to harmful chemicals.
Mr Koffi was introduced to agricultural drones and learned how to operate them through a new initiative created by Edeh Dona Etchri.
In partnership with China Quanfeng Aviation, the entrepreneur founded e-AgriSky, a Lomé-based vocational school where farmers from the surrounding region are taught how to fly drones.
Known for launching e-Agribusiness, an online platform used by over 5,000 farmers and agricultural experts and buyers in Togo, the agritech enthusiast, who works in close cooperation with the Togolese government, has every intention of establishing drones as an essential agricultural tool in West Africa.
E-AgriSky’s first cohort of students – 16 farmers from Togo, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon – are already using drones on their farms.
“In one month, the training course provides students with the knowledge they need to pilot, operate and program drones, when it comes to both applying products and mapping fields to optimise their farming operations,” said Hodabalo Egbelou, who teaches at the school.
E-AgriSky has set a highly ambitious goal: by 2025, it hopes to have trained no less than 8,000 certified drone pilots.
Besides its educational offerings, the school sells drones – manufactured by China Quanfeng Aviation – to farmers and the crop protection products that go with them.
“They have been approved by the government and meet environmental protection standards,” Kossi Dovene Tsekpui, an agricultural engineer responsible for marketing the drones, told us.
Source: Africanews / The African Report