The Department of Agriculture (DA) is spearheading the effort to utilize drones in spraying farm inputs in vegetable farms in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the DA supports aerial spraying technology and provided P7.5 million to apply the technology in a 5,000-hectare pilot area in Benguet. The cost of using drones for spraying is P1,500 per hectare.
“Five thousand hectares of vegetable farms in Buguias town and other selected towns of Benguet province will serve as the pilot area of the newest farming technology that the Department of Agriculture is adopting – aerial spraying using remote-controlled drones,” Piñol said.
The drones, which could be used to spray foliar fertilizer and other biological pest control solutions, will be operated by the Japanese company DMM Corp.
“It took the drone just a few minutes to cover a patch of vegetables and according to the data provided by the Japanese service provider company, it will only take 10 minutes to cover one hectare.” Piñol said.
He noted the use of drones is ideal for the farms in the Cordillera Region because most of these are carved out of the mountainsides, and the task of going up and down to spray patches of vegetables is a very costly operation.
“With the remote controlled drones, farmers also will no longer have direct contact with the biological or chemical mists emitted by handheld sprayers,” Piñol said.
While the use of drones in agriculture is not a new technology, this will be the first time that the DA will be utilizing drones in farm operations. The DA is already using drones for aerial surveys and geotagging operations, especially for farm-to-market roads.
According to Piñol, after in Benguet, the DA will introduce the use of drones in other areas of the country where farmers are willing to adopt modern farming technology.
Source : http://www.manilatimes.net/