The African Farmers’ Stories in partnership with a Ugandan based drone training school is set to grow the number of agricultural drone usage in the country as part of its advocacy work for policy inclusion of innovations and tech-driven agricultural practices.
Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday when members of the Nigerian Association of Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) paid her a courtesy visit, founder of African Farmers Stories, Mrs Victoria Madedor noted that at the moment there is no classification of agricultural and non-agricultural drone usage in Nigeria.
“But you see, when there is a new innovation or technology, there must an advocacy group that must drive it into policy inclusion. This is why African Farmers Stories is starting a drone training to first expose people to the technology, because you cannot set a policy without users, so we have partnered with MiDrone which is a Uganda based drone school to teach the youths about drones,” she said.
She noted that because drones has different usage in the agricultural space youths are presented with different aspects to choose from.
“If you do not have the money to train as a drone pilot, you can choose to be an analyst that interprets the data collected by the drone for farmers or investors.
“You can become a maintenance person if you choose the technical aspect of it, where you help to repair drones, currently there are no trained personnel that can repair drones in the country.
“That is why you find that the cost of drone usage is still very high because there are no after sales services, so we are interested in promoting three major aspects of drone training namely; flying, data analysis and the technical part of it,” she said.
Madedor disclosed that already, wife of the Kwara State governor has partnered with African Farmers’ Stories on the initiative and given 20 people scholarships to be part of the drone value chain.
“We know that this is what interests’ youths and drives them to become more involved in agriculture, because most people today have android phones and with that they can do a lot of things, so we want to open them to the possibility of farming on their mobile devices.
“We are exposing youths to simple tools that can help them understand agriculture in the modern sense.
“We are also working with developers of a farm cluster in Edo state, where you have poultry farms that people can come, rent and operate, all the required assets to farm are in one location. Where you can share services like drone monitoring, planters, tractors and veterinary services,” she said.
According to Madedor, these are some of the revolution taking place to help stimulate the interests of youths in agric – she said: “because when they know that these things are available in a mechanised form, they will be willing to come into the sector and you don’t need to own it all, that is what we are saying and you can collaborate with others on the same location.”