Thailand uses drones to combat agriculture industry woes

Date & Time: 2018-08-27 02:32:19

Drones can save Thailand and allow them to meet their agricultural demands. The agricultural industry which is set to decline in the next decade, can be revolutionized through the harnessing of new technology. Drones aren’t new technologyby any means. Now, however, thanks to robust investments and a somewhat morerelaxed regulatory environment, it appears their time has arrived—especially inagriculture. According to aDronefly press release, the use of drones in theagriculture industry can basically be boiled down to four segments: Crop fieldscanning with compact multispectral imaging sensors, GPS map creation throughonboard cameras, heavy payload transportation, and livestock monitoring withthermal-imaging camera-equipped drones Agriculture in Thailand mostly consists of small-scalefarms (a half-hectare or 3.125 rai), which contributes10-12% to the country's GDP and employs one-third of the labour force, saidJiadong Sun, head of international agriculture sales at DJI.  Thailand is the world’s second largest riceexporter and countries all over the world is dependent on Thailand for theirfood imports. The food demands around the world are increasing, due to thepopulation sizes growing. However, Thailand is facing an ageing population. Themost worrying fact of all is that the farming demographic is ageingas those 30 or younger are not interestedin farming. Back-breaking and muddy, rice farming in Thailand haslong been the domain of the young and able-bodied who had the strength to stoopfor hours in the searing sun, transplanting rows of rice plants, one seedlingat a time. However, in Thailand today, rice farming is suddenly thepreserve of the old as young people stay longer in school and as the vastmetropolis of Bangkok lures the country’s best and brightest to careers inair-conditioned workplaces. Due to shifting trends and the herald of the technologyera, farmers have to turn to smart faming in order to cope with the crunch inmanpower. The demands for agriculture from Thailand will continue increasingand Thailand has to meet these demands to contribute sufficiently to theeconomy. DJI, the Shenzhen based drone-maker, is expanding its agriculture drones in Thailand making it the first South East Asian country use the machines to deal with the worker shortage inthe farming sector. He said DJI started offering its agriculturaldrones in the home country, with startups and young entrepreneurs finding thatthe tool offered them a new business opportunity in training farmers how to usethem. InChina, DJI has 2,000 drone agriculture serviceproviders using 16,000 DJI drones spraying 6 million hectares. Some droneservice operators can break even within six months, Mr Sun said. DJI also hasagriculture drone sales in Japan and South Korea.  To capitalise on the farming sector, DJI recentlyintroduced the MG-1P agriculture drone, a high-performance aircraft, at theAGRI Technica Asia Exhibition in Thailand. The new model has a singlecontroller that can manage up to five drones, saving on the costs of humancontrol, as the previous model could control only one.  The transmission range of up to three kilometresenables the drones to complete tasks 60 times faster than humans. Tasksthat took 2-3 days for human labour can be finished within 2-3 hours with adrone, part of the automation and precision farming trend.  Kevin On, communications director of DJI Global,said overseas revenue accounted for 80% of the total, and Thailand is astrategic market for consumer and agricultural drones. Agricultural drones can bring greateropportunities for individual farmers, increasing their productivity whileminimising health risks.