Agriculture explores use of drones to improve crop health, for deliveries

Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Clay Sweeting received a demonstration yesterday on how drones can help to advance the agriculture sector in The Bahamas, as well as improve the efficiency of inter-island delivery of goods.

During the demonstration at Bluefields Farms, DraganFly and Bella Wings Aviation showed a group of government officials and officials from the agriculture sector how drones can improve crop production through monitoring. They also showed how these very same drones could deliver a package of fresh greens from one point to another.

Sweeting said during his remarks at the demonstration that the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) continues to help his ministry carry out the vision of melding agriculture and technology in order to grow and improve the country’s food production.

“These drones can be used for aerial mapping, crop density management, irrigation analysis and plant health assessment,” said Sweeting.

“Imagine what farmers can do with the data they are able to collect from using these drones. I also note that these drones will be used for emergency services and disaster assessments… something that is vital as we remain vulnerable to disastrous hurricanes due to climate change.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, and now war, have threatened supply chains globally, The Bahamas has ramped-up its pace in trying to grow the agriculture sector in order to make this country more self-sufficient and to cut down on the country’s $1 billion food import bill.

President of Draganfly Scott Larson told Guardian Business that his company has come down to demonstrate several different use cases of their drone technology.

He explained that aside from the agricultural applications, Draganfly will demonstrate their drones’ abilities to delivery emergency health care supplies from one island to another and their ability to police the country’s maritime borders for poaching and other illegal activities.

He said another focus is the delivery of goods from one island to another.

“We’re looking at different use cases in The Bahamas,” said Larson. “Delivery and agriculture use cases, surveillance, maritime, illegal fishing.”

He explained that the company’s fixed-wing, vertical take-off and landing vehicles can travel up to 500 miles carrying 25 to 30 pounds.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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