As part of the official AGRF 2019 launch, 30 leading national, regional and international journalists visited two projects in Ghana that have embraced the use of digital technologies in agriculture.
In the first project, the journalists visited to Bomarts farm that produces fruits for exports where AcquahMeyer Drone Tech and Ziongate Geospatial & Research Services Limited demonstrated the use of drones in precision farm spraying and in crop diagnostics respectively.
In the second project, the journalists visted Trotro Tractor that has adopted the ‘Uber for Tractor’ model that allows farmers to request tractor services using their phones. The platform has registered over 300 tractors and close to 30,000 farmers who regularly use the tractors.
“While I studied agriculture in primary and secondary school, I never wanted to be a farmer or to be involved in agriculture.” These were the words of Valentine Kuletsi, a 27 year old Ghanainan Bachelor of Arts graduate as he flew a drone over a crop of pineapples at Bomarts farm .
Upon graduation, Valentine joined millions of other African graduates in search of the increasingly elusive employment. Contrary to the career he had dreamed of, he got a job in a Ghanaian start-up, AcquahMeyer Drone Tech , owned by a Ghanaian pilot that offers precision spraying services to farmers using drones.
“I liked it. It looked cool and very different from the kind of farming a grew up seeing. I learned how to fly the drones within a short time and my boss enrolled me for short-term course in agriculture focusing on agro-chemicals, their use and safety requirements.”
Valentine is now an established drone pilot who has earned celebrity status among his peers who follow him to the farms to see him at work. He explained that the 15-litter drone he was operating can spray 2 hectares in 30 minutes.
On a busy day, he sprays up to 100 hectares. The drone ensures efficiency that saves cost for the farmers.
“My perception of what agriculture can do has really changed. I earn a very good living as a drone operator. Adoption of such technologies will create many opportunities for young people,” said Valentine.
He also added that his parents who were skeptical when he started are now very supportive after seeing what he has achieved. “They constantly receive calls from their friends when they see me on TV demonstrating what drones can do. This makes them very proud.”
As part of his future plans, Valentine has bought 5 drones of his own using his savings that he plans to use when he starts his own drones company where he hopes to create employment for more young people like himself.
The drones used by AcquahMeyer Drone Tech are assembled in Ghana which further creates more employment opportunities.