Farmers, miners in Ivory Coast embrace use of drones

Farmers and miners in Ivory Coast are embracing the use of drones for light work. Until recently, stock checks and growth reports are done on foot. But now, this is done in record time. Thanks to these equipment manufactured by Ivory Coast drone.

“With a drone today we can calculate the stockpile of gravel that’s been produced. The customers said if it’s true, we don’t see how a drone can do that, yes it’s possible. It goes through 3D machines, it goes through image processing and when we did the demonstration we did a very simple test, they filled a truck with gravel, they weighed it, they didn’t tell us the value and then they poured the same amount of gravel and they asked us to do it with the drone and the results were almost the same”, said Ivory Coast Drone CEO, Marouane Jebbar.

At this Abidjan rubber plantation, CEO of startup Wefly Agri, Joseph Biley, and drone pilot Ben Doumbia are testing out a drone. 

“A lot of people were afraid to invest because it was a sector that seemed opaque to them. They didn’t necessarily have the time to travel regularly to their plantation and it was blurred. Today, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world, but they need to know what’s going on in their plantations. So the impact for the Ivorian economy is much more about the investors in this sector. And it is a certain assurance and a certain quietude for these investors who today in a few clicks have access to information”, Biley said.

Yves Djedje is a rice plantation owner who recently invested in Wefly Agri’s drones. He says it has vastly improved business operations.

“The first thing that appealed to me about being home was the ability to see my plantation. It was already very interesting that I could visualize my plantation on a smartphone, on a computer, which is what is good. The second thing was how I could be sure that my employees were doing the tasks I was giving them. In Abidjan or abroad when I ask them have you done that, yes we did, but I have no way to reassure myself, but with this, I could do it”, Djedje said.

The devices have been imported into Ivory Coast in parts. But the drones are reassembled and repaired in the country. Home-produced drones would cut costs and increase availability to local farmers.

But project managers say a law imposed two years ago by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority is crippling development.

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