The government’s recent acquisition of nine drones signals a clear intention to transition from traditional agricultural methods to adopting smart technological systems known as precision farming on a global scale.
Dr. John Basera, the permanent secretary of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, emphasized the importance of equipping the agricultural sector with modern tools like drones as a crucial step in establishing a “smart agriculture sector” while gearing up for precision agriculture.
“The incorporation of drones is a key component of the implementation of intelligent agricultural strategies aimed at optimizing land utilization, boosting crop yields, and reducing production costs to ensure sustainable agricultural practices as the country strives for self-sufficiency.”
Dr. Basera remarked that the acquisition of nine drones marks a positive step towards achieving a smart agricultural economy by 2025. With ongoing technological research initiatives, the government is actively promoting precision agriculture, enabling the full integration of modern technology to enhance production efficiency and maximize productivity.”
Precision farming systems lead to higher yields and improved farmer profitability. According to Dr. Basera, one of the key milestones in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) is enhancing community resilience, achievable through improved production and income generation.
Drones play a vital role in this context by providing accurate field mapping data, enabling farmers to identify irregularities like wet and dry areas, and determine optimal drainage patterns to implement more efficient watering techniques based on prevailing climate conditions.
Dr. Basera also highlighted that drone technology offers superior precision in surveying, mapping, and monitoring large crop areas.
Aligned with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development’s mission to foster the development of a modern and sustainable climate-smart agricultural sector, the use of precisely targeted drone spraying can significantly decrease pesticide usage.
Dr. Basera emphasized that this approach plays a crucial role in safeguarding the environment and human health, as it reduces the risk of inhaling hazardous chemicals compared to conventional chemical spraying methods, which can be detrimental to both people and the environment.
He also highlighted that the T40 drones in use have the capacity to carry 40 liters of chemicals and are equipped with state-of-the-art atomized spraying systems.
“I have been informed that the T40 drones possess a 40-liter chemical-carrying capacity and feature advanced atomized spraying systems,” Dr. Basera revealed.
According to Dr. Basera, drone technology is well-suited for collecting specific data that facilitates precise decision-making at both policy and farm levels.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has established a standardized framework for regulating and licensing drone operations in the country.News