Musanze embraces drone tech to boost agriculture sector

Musanze District last week embarked on the use of drone technology to boost productivity in the agriculture sector.

This is the first time this kind of technology is being launched in Musanze and is expected to facilitate farmers to make informed decisions based on accurate data collected.

The drones will be deployed to collect samples,  mapping landscape and looking at data  particularly on what kind of fertilisers required for certain crops using the data collected by Charis UAS drones, a local company.

Augustin Ndabereye, the District’s  vice mayor in charge of economic planning, said they are planning to employ  this high tech innovation  to boost yields of major crops including maize, beans, wheat, and Irish potatoes, among others.

Under the Crop Intensification Programme (CIP), a government initiative aimed to achieve food security and improve rural household incomes, Ndabereye said that the district had targeted to considerably raise the output to benefit more people.

“We are currently focusing on raising production of Irish potatoes, climbing beans, maize and wheat. This is being done through land consolidation as well working with different partners like research institutions to address the biggest challenges that farmers face,” he noted.

Presently, Musanze produces Irish potatoes to the tune of 30 tons per hectare, and according to Ndabereye, this latest technology could see the District achieve its target of 31 tons per hectare this year alone.


Embracing research

Meanwhile, the district is currently conducting extensive research on how best farmers can be facilitated to adopt to modern farming technologies.

The research being conducted in collaboration with the Regional Research Centre for Integrated Development (RCID) is designed to transform agriculture into a more commercialized business enterprise, said Jules Kazungu, the director general of RCID.

“Currently we are conducting research on different soil composition and   texture to be able to know what kind of fertilizers can be applied, he added.

Today, farmers just apply any fertliser without knowing the structure of the soil. They end up not getting the right harvest,” he added.