The African Union along with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), have published a report that looks at drone usage in agriculture in Afrika. Titled "Drones on the horizon: Transforming Africa's agriculture", the report provides contextualized review of drones as a vital precision agriculture-enabling technology and its range of relevant uses for providing detailed and on-demand data in order to enhance decision-making by farmers and hence facilitate much needed support.
The "Drones on the horizon: Transforming Africa's agriculture" report makes a call for Afrikan countries to work towards promoting drone usage for precision agriculture.
Download the "Drones on the horizon: Transforming Africa's agriculture" report.
"Drones for precision agriculture is a farming management concept which is based upon measuring and responding to inter- and intra-field variability in crop and animal production. It is not just the application of new technologies, but rather it is an information revolution that can result in a more precise and effective farm management system. Drones, described as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial system (UAS), the latter including the sensor, software, and so forth, have many applications. These include, but are not limited to, land mapping and surveying, land tenure and land use planning, inspection monitoring and surveillance, cargo delivery, scientific research, management of agricultural assets and insurance and crop/infrastructure damage assessment. In agriculture, there are several major applications of UAS technology, namely crop scouting/monitoring, crop volume and vigour assessments, crop inventory (or the counting of individual plants), generation of prescription maps (such as location-specific nitrogen fertilizer dosage recommendations), precision spraying, inspection of farm infrastructure (including irrigation), high resolution mapping and surveying of individual fields (such as farm boundary delineations and crop area calculations), crop damage assessment and insurance claim forensics. Drones equipped with adequate sensors have the capability to generate remote-sensing data in near real time in the field rather than the resulting lag in data acquisition from satellite and aircraft-based imagery."
Apart from photography and medical deliveries in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Malawi, there are already organizations looking into using drones for land mapping in Afrika. In Kenya, aerial photographs from drones are being used in some cases for mapping property boundaries.
"The report recommends that the adoption, deployment and upscaling of UAS in the context of precision agriculture is considered as a priority. Key areas to be considered in upscaling the technology and realizing its potential include capacity-building, enabling or supporting infrastructure, regulatory strengthening, research and development and stakeholder engagement."