South African Farmers Flock To Drone Schools For Flying Lessons

South African Farmers Flock To Drone Schools For Flying Lessons

Farmers in South Africa are ditching muddy boots  in favor of drone monitoring of their fields, thanks for new drone legislation passed in mid-2015 that has provided a framework for unmanned aircraft use in the country.

The country was one of the first in the world to formulate detailed regulations governing the use of drone technology and there have been a huge demand for its commercial use in aviation, mining, wildlife conservancy and now farming.

According to a FreshFruitPortal.com report, farmers are flocking training school to take courses on how to fly drones over their fields.

Already eight classes have graduated from UAV Industries training school, the only one in the coastal Western Cape province, and another 51 students are currently training, the school’s Chief Operating Officer, Braam Botha, told FreshFruitPortal.com.

“We’ve seen interest as far as Namibia and across borders of farmers wanting to use the technology and wanting to access data,” Botha said.

“I think it adds a whole new angle and yes, even though you always have farmers who are wary about the cost, especially (with) a cost analysis against a possible increase in outputs, it makes them more effective. It completely overrides the initial cost in investment.”

Greg Donaldson, UAV’s chief flight instructor, said drone use in agriculture provides a whole new perspective to farmers.

In addition to providing soils and nutrient analysis through aerial imaging, drones also provide the opportunity to view a year’s worth of farm work from a new perspective.

This explains why South African farmers we eager for a chance to get licensed to fly drones.

“We’ve got a dedicated team that will be focusing on farms and we have many farmers lined up already, waiting for flight school,” Botha said.

“I do think in a lot of cases, Africa is a perfect playground because we have minimal air traffic.”