Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

Agriculture workshop examines drone use to boost harvests

Experts are meeting in Africa to explore how drones and other remote sensing tools may be able to help farmers make better use of their land.

Professor Geoff Simm

Researchers will discuss how remote sensing – such as using unmanned aircraft and satellites – could provide farmers with information about crop yields as well as greenhouse gas emissions from livestock grazing on their land.

This information could help farmers to make vital decisions that help them optimise the productivity of their resources.

A one-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya will be attended by experts from the UK, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopa and Nigeria.

The aim is to identify knowledge gaps and barriers that may affect how remote sensing technology is implemented in farming.

They hope to find ways to better measure and analyse complex systems and data in new ways that benefit farmers.

New collaborations will be set up to address research questions raised by the event.

The workshop has been organised by the University of Edinburgh’s Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security. It will take place at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.

Professor Geoff Simm, Director of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Edinburgh, is leading the event. He says new remote sensing technologies can play a key role in helping farmers adopt ‘climate smart’ systems that improve productivity sustainably.

Remote sensing technologies can help to better match agricultural systems to the natural resources available, optimise the scale and timing of inputs, and so reduce greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of food produced.

Professor Geoff SimmDirector of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, University of Edinburgh

Prof Simm added: “Sub Saharan Africa faces pressing challenges in feeding its rapidly growing population sustainably over the next few decades – a challenge heightened because of climate change. Our workshop will identify regional research and translation needs, strengthen existing partnerships and stimulate new ones to help address these challenges.”

The event is funded by an Impact Accelerator Award from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.