LANDMARK MENTORS YOUNG FARMERS ON THE PROSPECTS OF DRONES TECHNOLOGY IN SMART FARMING
On Monday 8th March 2021, Landmark University Centre for Research Innovation and Discoveries (LUCRID) organised a two-day webinar event themed “Drone Technology and the Agriculture Industry”. The event was LUCRID’s 4th webinar series specially organized to mentor young farmers especially students on the prospects of agricultural technology using drones.
In his welcome remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adeniyi Olayanju identified Smart agriculture as one of the panaceas to food shortage and climate change affecting the agricultural industry. According to the Vice-Chancellor, smart agriculture which includes drone technology helps farmers to innovatively cope with the effects of climate change among other benefits. Professor Olayanju further revealed that smart agriculture is growing in importance due to the combination of the rising population, the increasing demand for the higher crop yield, and the need to use natural resources efficiently.
While speaking on the importance of drones technology to modern agriculture, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayanju noted that the technology will help take appropriate decisions on policies in the ever dynamic ecosystem. He added that inasmuch environmental changes are natural occurrences hence, a predictive tool will be aided by drone technology to monitor the interactive influence of many factors on the agricultural ecosystem. The Vice-Chancellor thereafter stressed the relevance of the workshop as related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) research groups in building capacity in the area as well as mentoring the students in making agriculture attractive and interesting. Professor Olayanju afterwards urged the participants both physical and online to make the most use of the opportunity avail them in building capacity as Faculty and Students.
Professor Olayanju while speaking later eulogized the facilitators of the webinar, Farmers Femi Adekoya and David Opatoyinbo who were both UK and USA trained drone pilots for being so passionate about imparting knowledge of drone technology thereby making significant contributions to the Nigerian agricultural sector. He added that with their presence in the country, other youths would see the dignity and profitability in agriculture.
Earlier, the Registrar, Miss Fola Oyinloye who joined as a virtual participant congratulated the Director, Landmark University Centre for Research, Innovation and Discoveries (LUCRID) Professor Babatunde Adebesin and his team for successfully organizing the programme. She stated that technology is a strong driver of change and when technology is been discussed as a new drive, agriculture is not left out. He thereafter, admonished other participants through the webinar to unlearn the obsolete to learn and relearn the new technology.
In his presentation, Femi Adekoya, a 27-year-old Nigerian trained in the United Kingdom on drone technology exposed the untapped potential of drone technology to agriculture in the African Continent. While stating that agriculture is the least digitized industry in the world, Adekoya noted that to achieve zero hunger and food security, the sector needs to get smart and go digital. Femi Adekoya, who identified the benefits of smart farming as profitability, sustainability and environmental protection, urged the participants to look beyond the likely challenges of introducing smart farming to their field but rather make concerted efforts to get on board and join their counterparts around the world by going digital. According to him, the traditional farming methods which are energy consuming, capital intensive and less profitable is becoming outdated. He subsequently addressed applications of drones in agriculture and related fields through a practical session while he showed the prospect and opportunities of drone technology for youth and fulfilment of the SDGs as well as making recommendations for Landmark University.
For David Opatoyinbo, taking the audience through different practical sessions was dreams come alive and with excitement and curiosity on the side of the students and participants, he had the technical session well delivered. He thereafter took participants on the field through hands-on practical sessions on practical flight demonstration (Drone piloting), Mission Planning and Data Processing.
The two-day webinar on drone technology in agriculture featured different presentations, practical session and interactive sessions as participants expressed delight while appreciating Landmark University for organizing such a webinar to build capacity on drone technology.