TRFCA Recommends Use of Drone
A tea research institution, Tea Research Foundation for Central Africa (TRFCA) has recommended use of drone agricultural spraying technology as a cost-effective technology in the tea industry.
TRFCA Director Dr. Jonathan Mkumbira said unlike aero planes which waste some fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides in rivers, roads, homes and other peoples’ gardens, drones apply fertilizers and chemicals direct in tea fields.
He was speaking on Thursday in Mulanje during a drone agricultural spraying demonstration organized by TRFCA in conjunction with a tea growing company, Eastern Produce Malawi (EPM).
“Of course, the initial cost of the technology might be high but as time goes the technology becomes cost-effective,” said Dr. Mkumbira.
Farming and Engineering Services (FES) provides drones on hire.
FES Group Agricultural Systems Manager Gavin Taylor told Zodiak Online that the technology uses high concentration of chemicals and low volumes of water and its electric hence the need for tea growers to adopt the technology.
“Another benefit is that the drones can be used even when the fields are wet and you cannot use heavy machinery there and also when the crop is high,” said Taylor.
FES charges close to 25 dollars which is approximately K20, 000 per hectare for a drone which covers one hectare within ten minutes.