In my years in both the manned and unmanned aerial survey environment, I have seen the importance of mapping for the farmer. Farmers rely heavily on this information for planning and management. Some may say that farmers are the first geographic information systems (GIS) users despite them not using computers, fancy software or satellite data. To manage large tracts of land requires planning and data, as it is nearly impossible to tackle such operations as they arise or ad hoc.
CTA has invested over €150,000 to investigate the technical and business feasibility of satellite data-enabled irrigation advisory services in Ghana, as it takes the lead in formulating a 'big proposal' to develop a project along similar lines to its Market-led User-owned ICT4AG-enabled Information Service (MUIIS) project in Uganda.
Whilst the availability of small drones provides exciting new opportunities, particularly for young African entrepreneurs keen to take advantage of this new technology, the slow development of regulations is holding the sector back from realising its potential.
A conference held recently in Uganda featured a session organised by CTA to raise awareness of drones in agriculture and the opportunities offered by this emerging technology to youth entrepreneurs in Africa.