Drone start-up’s special day working with trans-national sugar company

We have only heard of the Dangote Group by word of mouth.

Apparently, it is a modest holding company in West Africa that is involved in energy, agriculture, logistics and manufacturing.

The group made a modest $3,5billion in revenue last year. At one time its owner, Aliko Dangote wanted to buy The Arsenal Football Club of London.

Among its agricultural operations, the Dangote Group operates a sugar processing company called Dangote Sugar Refinery, one of whose farms has just contracted a precision agriculture start-up to carry out spraying missions over its sugarcane.

And for Integrated Aerial Precision, this was a milestone of a lifetime.

The start-up ferried its two DJI Agras T40 and one Agras T30 to Adamawa state in North East Nigeria, where the farm authorities wanted to spray a growth regulating chemical over their crop.

As narrated by the startup; “Dangote Sugar Refinery wanted to enhance crop yield and productivity through a specialised growth regulator called ethephon.

“This regulator was to be applied to DSR’s vast sugar cane plantations in Numan, Adamawa, and its effect is to prolong the vegetative phase of sugarcane growth by suppressing flowering, ultimately resulting in a bountiful harvest. The application of ethephon is a scientific approach that promises substantial increases in sugar production upon harvest.

“We used two sets of DJI Agras T40 and one DJI Agras T30, calibrated them to dispense 20litres of chemical per each hectare of the field.

“The flight parameters were set to speeds of (5 m/s), an altitude of 2m above crop height, and a maximum wind speed of 3.6 m/s.”

Previously, the farm contracted crewed helicopter sprayers to carry out the job; but the drones completed the job faster, were more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Besides, “in contrast to traditional methods, where labour-intensive knapsack sprayers were deployed, our drones did the same task in a fraction of the time (1.5ha spray coverage in 9 mins).

“A task that would take hours was accomplished within minutes, optimizing resources and achieving a remarkable 30 percent reduction in chemical and 90 percent reduction in water usage. A feat only achievable through an advanced spray mechanism called Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) application enabled only through drone-based aerial application.

“The drone approach also safeguarded workers from exposure, sparing them from manual labour and reducing resource consumption. Our drones navigated the vast terrain, curbing water and chemical wastage while optimizing application efficiency.”

In the end, the drones sprayed about 1,200ha of sugarcane and the operation was a resounding success.

Integrated Aerial Precision reckons the future of crop spraying belongs to drone technology, which has become an integral tool in sustainable precision agriculture.

Congratulations to all; and we hope this kind of success sustains and spreads to small scale farmers who we think have greater need of technology to enhance their farming operations.


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