French Drone Project Boosts Africa’s Crop Yields

A French drone company is teaming up with a major European inspection service to improve agricultural yields in West Africa.

Delta Drone and Bureau Veritas Afrique announced plans last week to consolidate Bureau Vertitas’ soil analysis data with aerial data harvested by Delta drones to optimize precision farming for poverty-stricken areas in Côte d’Ivoire and nearby nations.

“As a pioneer in the burgeoning sector of civilian drones for professional use, Delta Drone built a complete value chain in order to provide its clients with business solutions that consider the safety or people and property, and acquires aerial data and then processes and delivers it in a format adapted to client needs,” Delta Drone CEO Christian Viguié said.

The drone project is expected to benefit owners of rubber, banana and oil palm plantations and will provide tree counts, health reports and stress level analysis. Drone Delta officials add that the specific advantages will include data about “homogeneity of plant development, identification of areas of vegetation stress, analysis of general health conditions and steering of fertilization and irrigation.”

Both Africa and agriculture have yielded huge wins in the commercial drone sector over the past two years.

According to a recent industry report, the agriculture drone segment is expected to witness the highest growth among other sub-sectors with a CAGR of 19.6% over the next seven years.

In June, Malawi and UNICEF joined forces to open a 25-mile-radius drone corridor over the nation’s Kasungu Aerodrome in an effort to improve emergency rescue operations and further aerial research. The UN agency says the drone corridor is the first in Africa and will be used by universities and some private sector business in addition to public-safety agencies.

“With the advent of technological innovations, Africa is rising up to the occasion and embracing … drone technology for the development of her people and in support of emerging entrepreneurs for job creation and eradication of poverty,” Sam Ncube of Drones Africa Summit said in earlier report. “As a result, Africa is fast becoming a hotspot for investors who need a new platform for their services and products. Boosted by her diversity, Africa is proving that it is a profitable market.”

Jason Reagan

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.