Ten Kenyan youth will be trained on how to tap drone technology in farming to boost yields and attain food security.
The youths aged between 18 years and 35 years were selected out of 122 applicants for the Kenyan Agri-drone Business Competition.
Twenty-five youths were initially picked from the 122 who applied before being narrowed to ten finalists with the most innovative agri-tech ideas.
The 10 will attend physical drone technology training on March 16-18.
“The Kenyan Drone Business Competition, organised in partnership with Global Air Drone Academy and Kenya Flying Labs, aims to foster innovation and develop the entrepreneurial abilities of young technology entrepreneurs in Kenya,” said Co-founder of Global Air Drone Academy Eno Umoh.
The year’s edition, he noted, focuses on the use of drone technology in agriculture and food security including forestry, precision agriculture, AI detection, insurance claims assessments, livestock management and food delivery.
The KDBC training program will run till June.
Umoh said the 10 participants will learn from drone experts on how to adopt drone technology in provision of practical solutions, safe drone operation, deploying drones in battle on food insecurity and guidelines on setting up and running a successful drone enterprise
The application portal was opened on January 10 for five weeks. The 10 finalists will have an opportunity to pitch their business plans to a panel of judges.
The judges will settle on three winners who will each receive a Remote Pilot License (RPL) training through a scholarship to an approved drone training academy.
The winners will also receive drones and Cinema kits donated by Skydio, a leading US drone manufacturer and training resources with Drone Deploy licenses from Drone Deploy.
Furthermore, the winners will be admitted into Dronector’s Training Academy from Dronector, a leading drone technology training organisation in East Africa.
“This partnership will not only provide valuable training resources and support for the participants, but it will also help advance the use of drone technology in the agriculture sector and promote sustainable food security,” Umoh said.
Kenya’s agricultural sector, he noted, employs more than 40 per cent of the total population and 70 per cent of the rural population.
“It also contributes to 33 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product. However, agricultural productivity has stagnated in recent years,” he added, noting that “We saw an opportunity to not only get into the drone industry on the commercial side, but we wanted to also give back and train the next generation on the drone uses and technology that are emerging in several different fields.”
The trainees, he said, will be taught the need for drone safety, and integration of drone technology into the national airspace, and that drones are not toys but are aircraft that are guided by rules on how to operate.
The drones will be used in agriculture to spray over crops and monitor crop and livestock conditions from the air as they have cameras incorporated in them.