Jamaican Farmers Could Use More Drones, Says Expert.

Photo: Philippine Information Agency. Drones are being used increasingly by farmers worldwide to monitor crops.
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Jamaica’s  4-H Clubs Executive Director Peter Thompson, is calling on Jamaican farmers to invest more in drone technology for more efficient farming.

According to the International Rice Research Institute mapping drones with high-resolution cameras can measure key traits and monitor crop health and performance in real-time, aid in the precision management of nutrients, water, weeds, pests, and diseases, but rice isn’t the only crop that can benefit from drone flyovers.

Larger drones, can be used for direct seeding rice, fertilizer application, and spraying of pesticides and herbicides.

“One of the things we have seen happening, especially with the use of drones” said Thompson, “is that an acre of land of crops can be sprayed in three minutes. You can use it to do what is called vegetation indexing, where predetermined data is programmed in the drone for a specific crop. You can fly over that crop and you can use infrared technology to determine what the yield of the crop is like,” he said.

“They are using it in Europe for insurance purposes for crops [and] they use it for livestock to determine whether the animal is sick, and you need to pull them out of the herd and so forth. We have to embark on a path to bring technology to agriculture so that the days of the hoe and machete… will be extinct,” he added.

Mr. Thompson was speaking at the launch of the Kingston and St. Andrew ‘Agrofest 2024’ at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s (RADA) St. Andrew Parish Office on Friday (May 3).

The event, being staged by the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will take place on Saturday, May 25 at the Hope Gardens complex of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, starting at 7:00 a.m.

It will feature a farm queen competition, Jamaica 4-H Clubs speech contest, concert, and a JAS ‘Eat Jamaican’ cook-off.

There will also be a domino contest, horticulture display, high school exhibit, a small ruminant display, a kids’ village and a greased pig competition.

Source: Jamaica Government Information Service.
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