PhilRice promotes agricultural drones to farmers

A drone operator demonstrates the uses of drone in the rice field

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines — The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), together with Davao-based drone firm New Hope Corp, conducted a drone seminar for 60 seed growers from various regions in the country as part of its promotion to use multi-purpose drone spreaders to expedite work in the rice field.

The said seminar took place at the Philrice compound in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija last Thursday.

Farmers were introduced to the benefits of drone usage in agriculture which include the quick and efficient spreading of seeds and fertilizers; easy application of chemicals on rice fields and automation of feeding tasks in fishponds.

“It can take snap shots at the farm and then i-analyze natin yan to gauge the plant health through full band five camera. Marami tayong bands na hindi nakikita with our own eyes,” New Hope Corp chief executive officer, Anthony Tan said.

A multi-purpose drone spreader takes off

The multi-purpose drone is capable of spraying seeds onto 30 hectares of farmland in just a day.  In turn, farmers are spared from getting sick due to chemical exposure.

The seed growers who attended the PhilRice seminar are convinced by the convenience that drone technology offers. They are particularly drawn to the guarantee of fast production which they find imperative amid looming stiff competition with the entry of imported rice and other agricultural products.

The cost of the device itself is quite hefty at P850,000. But this can be rented from a service provider at P850 per hectare of farmland.

At present, New Hope Corp is considering other measures to further improve their product for the benefit of farmers.  — Freema Salonga with reports from Danny Munar

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