Climate change is one of the factors that make farmers look for solutions to problems like drought. This is because such issues bring birds invasion to farms, leaving the farmers in risks. According to a report by Ghana’s minister of food and agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, 80% of the farmers have been affected by drought this year. Using drones to chase away birds in Ghana has given researchers a sigh of relief. They can now manage these “pests” in real-time.
In Ghana, the drones’ project is run by the Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). Through this project, farmers are taught how to spray fertilizer and locate scarce water resources. Fortunately, there’s a plus for this. The drones seem to produce a noise that wards off the birds from the farm. Though the drones are used partially for the purpose, they help make the work of manually chasing the birds easier. “This work makes me very tired. I can lose my voice because of shouting at the birds. I wish there was a way to make it easier,” said Ephraim, a young man guarding his parents’ rice farm.
Drones fight drought
Ghana is currently in a crisis of prolonged drought. This has caused the farmers to turn to technology for sustainable solutions. In particular, rice farmers have found such technology helpful in their quest for a bountiful harvest. Drought and unpredictable weather patterns mean that the migratory birds have to attack grain farms mercilessly. These birds do not know where their next meal will come from. So, they usually invade the fields until they feed to their fill. The CEO of GEM Industrial Solutions, George Madjitey, says that one drone can ward off birds on a three acres (1.2 hectares) land.
“The drone makes work easier for farmers because it can operate over a wide range of land. Also, the children are able to stay at home with their families and do their homework instead of being on the farm,” he said. However, farming can do good by using drones to chase away birds in Ghana.
Introduction of drone technology
Following a 7% drop in crop yields since a decade ago and loss of $200 million every year to droughts and floods, farmers felt the need to look for a solution. The African Green Revolution Forum launched Eyes in the Sky, Smart Techs on the Ground project. Started three years ago, the project has benefited 2,800 farmers in cassava, cashew nuts, and rice fields. This project works by putting the farmers in groups of 100 people. Each group then contributes to the use, maintenance and payment of the drones. To make work easier, the farmers are group according to the neighborhood. Thus, a drone can cover one or two farms when on a flight.
Operating the drone is done by the farmers themselves whereby one or two farmers are trained to operate the drone. They can then do it for the rest of the farmers. Using drones to chase way birds in Ghana increase farm yields. “This ensures the technology reaches as many of them as possible,” Madjitey said. Kpong village is one of the areas where the drone project has been initiated.
Benefits of technology Innovations in agriculture
There’s a global move toward technical innovations in agriculture. This allows farmers to work faster and more efficiently on their farms. Integrating technology in farming is a game-changer in supporting agriculture in the continent. This is according to a report on the digitalization of agriculture in Africa. “With so much at stake, it is no surprise that most African countries have prioritized agricultural transformation as a key pillar of their national strategies,” the report emphasized.
“Africa has been going round and round in circles, but digital innovations now present an opportunity to change things. Drones are helping farmers solve complex problems in a simple way,” said the president of the Alliance for a Green revolution in Africa, Agnes Kalibata.