KENYA – Sasini, a Kenyan agricultural firm that produces and exports tea, coffee, macadamia and avocado, has signed a service agreement with Fahari Aviation to undertake fertilizer application and chemical spraying using drones on its tea farm.
Fahari Aviation, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways PLC will offer the precision agricultural services at the Kipkebe farm, used as benchmark prior to expanding the service to other Sasini Estates.
The high-capacity drones will be deployed to cover over 3000 acres of tea plantation in less than two weeks, saving an overall 50% on cost and time efficiency in fertilizer spraying and spreading.
Drone technology in agriculture also offers better accountability of product supply as well as improved accessibility of tough terrains.
Speaking on the signed agreement, Hawkins Musili, General Manager at Fahari Aviation said, “Agriculture forms the backbone of our economy and drones have revolutionized agriculture by offering farmers major cost savings, enhanced efficiency within the region.
“We are proud to announce this agreement as Fahari Aviation seeks to reach new heights for more precise applications within the agricultural sector.”
Fahari Aviation is responsible for launching and implementing future aviation technologies and is part of the airline’s strategy of contributing to the sustainable development of Africa by championing new dimensions within the industry with the use of drones and unmanned aircraft.
Silas Njibwakale, Managing Director at Kipkebe Limited said, “We are indeed very excited to partner with Fahari Aviation, who is a pioneer of the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technology in the country, in the application of fertilizer on our tea fields using drones.
“As a leading agricultural enterprise, Kipkebe is uniquely positioned to lead our industry towards the future of sustainable farming due to a rich heritage, commitment to innovation, learning and continuous improvement.”
He noted that the drone technology will reduce the time span for fertilizer application on the tea fields ensuring that application coincides with good weather conditions, and enhance crop yields while reducing attendant costs, as well as adverse impacts on human and the environment.
Meanwhile, German outdoor power tools manufacturer Stihl has injected KSh500 million (US$4.17m) into its new Nairobi hub in a bid to support small-scale farmers acquire farming equipment in Kenya and East Africa at large.
The manufacturer of various agro equipment and forest equipment noted that with a majority of Africans engaging in agriculture as their source of livelihood, the un-affordability of equipment has hindered them from harnessing their full potential.
Among the equipment the firm is offering, specifically tailored for smallholder farmers include tillers, mist blowers, sprayers and water pumps.
The firm has also affirmed that it will not only just be selling its products only but it will also offer both theoretical and practical education to its customers on how the various equipment works at their now opened Nairobi hub.
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