Jamaica: To revolutionize the agriculture sector through the introduction of drone technology, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, is collaborating with local drone manufacturer, D&C Drones. On Tuesday, the Ministry took the technology to farmers in Lowe River, Trelawny, to demonstrate its use and applicability.
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson, who observed the tests, said that the unmanned aerial vehicles are effective in addressing praedial larceny, assessing damage following natural disasters such as a flood or hurricane, and will better assist farmers to put measures in place to boost crop yield.
He said it is extremely difficult to get an accurate picture of damage to crops and livestock following a natural disaster, especially in remote areas.
“Once we have crop damage after a hurricane or flood we find that the estimates are usually never correct. Many of the extension officers can’t reach the areas where the damage is. With the drone we are able to go over and identify all the crops and all the animals that have been lost and bring back the picture within a day,” he pointed out.
He added that the drones can also give a better picture as to crop production, identify areas that might need irrigation, and also plants that may be lacking in nutrients.
Drone trials will be carried out in other parts of the island, where farmers will see first-hand how the devices work and how they can help to boost productivity.