Farmers have been urged to embrace modern technology in farming as it is cost effective and increases yield.
Nicholas Sang an agronomist with Rano Company while demonstrating to Ngushishi farmers in Buuri Sub-county of Meru County the use of a drone to spray herbicides and pesticides on weeds and crops said modern technology in farming was the only way a farmer can reduce cost of crop production and get high yields.
Sang said of late, farmers have been undergoing a lot of challenges as they fight weeds, pests and crop diseases and also invasion of locusts.
Sang said Rano company did some research and acquired a drone which is computerized and which uses General Packet Radio Services (GPRS). He said mapping of the area to be sprayed has to be done first and then configured using the GPRS.
“To use the drone effectively, one needs to map the drone which is fitted with a jerrycan carrying the pesticide or herbicide. It is then flown up in the sky and starts spraying the mapped area.”
Sang said the drone is able to spray at any time of the day or night and it has a capacity of carrying a 20 liters jerrycan of the mixed spraying chemical.
The agronomist said the drone will be a big relief to the farmers as it cuts cost of spraying which is high when human labour or tractors are used.
He pointed out that spraying using drone is far advantageous because it can it can spray even small farms that airplanes cannot spray. He said an airplane will also need an airstrip for landing and taking-off unlike the drone. The drone uses same Utra Low Volume (ULV) technology device which is used by airplanes meant for spraying.
Further, the drone can spray 6 and a quarter acre of land in less than 30mins adding that it is less expensive as a farmer uses between Sh.800 to Sh.900 per acre. He added that the major challenge of using the drone is having to often change the battery and refill the pesticide because of the capacity. One battery sustains the drone for 15minutes in the air.
Murithi Gituma a canora farmer at Timau Buuri Sub-county said he found drone technology on the internet and became interested, noting, the challenge of spraying Canola crop which is meant for processing cooking oil using spraying tractor is big due to the crop height that limits the tractor’s coverage.
Gituma said: “We will embrace this technology as the drone is more accurate and effective compared to other methods we have been using.”
“Food security is one of the Jubilee government Big Four Agenda, hence the need for the government and farmers both small and large scale to embrace this kind of technology,” Gituma said.
By Muguongo Judy