DA mulls drone technology to lure farmers’ kids back to farms

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) has crafted an IoT (Internet of Things) strategy that is not only centered on improving the livelihood of farmers but also takes into consideration the children of these farmers, many of whom have opted to leave their provinces to head out into the big cities.

A remote-controlled drone being used by the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna. Photo credit: http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/

A remote-controlled drone being used by the International Rice Research Institute in Laguna. Photo credit: http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/

These plans include the use of drone technology to make farming more attractive to farmers’ children and either lure them back into the fields their parents tilled.

Speaking at the Public Services Panel discussion of the 15th Asia IoT Business Platform held at Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City from August 1-2, DA information and communications technology service director Clint D. Hassan shared the agency’s planned IoT activities for this particular objective.

First and foremost, it plans to establish an Agricultural Drone Academy to assemble drones for agricultural purposes and have these drones fly over farm areas to perform otherwise laborious tasks like applying pesticides and herbicides to the crops.

Hassan envisions a scenario where the farmers and their children are gathered in the fields, watching drones moving in mid-air and showering infested crops below with these chemical substances.

“They will love to see those drones spraying the farm field,” he said. This will cause others in the community to be curious as well, prompting them to go to the place to see for themselves what is happening, the DA official added.

With drones performing these tasks for them, Hassan believes this measure will help make the farmers relax more. “So their children will also be encouraged,” he said. “Sooner or later, they’ll be the ones to maneuver these drones.”

Aside from land drones, the DA will also make use of sea drones for both sea level and under sea level.

For this initiative, the officials are presently studying drone technology for agricultural purposes and are in the process of procuring materials, developing training modules, and forming linkages.

“We already anticipate that the farmers are already retiring and their children don’t want to go back to the farm,” said Hassan. “But we are very much positive that we can bring these children of the farmers back to the farm fields. That’s one of our objectives.”

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