The donation of a US$13,850 drone to the Ministry of Agriculture is sure to assist officials in planning better for the enhancement of the sector locally.
So said agriculture minister, Saboto Caesar, who was present for the handing over of the high tech instrument on Friday, November 26.
“This occasion is very important in the development of the agriculture sector here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. We are on a path of promoting and advocating transformation and the inclusion of modern technology,” he said.
The drone was given to the Ministry of Agriculture by the Food and Agriculture Organisation. It is also expected to be utilised by the Ministry of Lands and Surveys.
“Land, labour and capital, the three factors of production are always important to be assessed in any conversation on production and productivity in the agriculture sector,” Caesar said.
He also placed the discussion in the context of this year’s eruptions of La Soufriere which has caused extensive damage to local forests as well as farm production.
The minister noted that traditionally, extension officers traverse hillsides and dangerous terrain to gather data for assessment.
“The world has gone past that and today, with the use of modern drones, we are now able to map different areas of the country to assist us to plan better,” the minister said.
Renato Gumbs, Chief Agricultural Officer was also present at the handover ceremony.
And he described the drone as an advancement in technology that will not only assist in data collection, but also provide access to areas of land that are difficult to access for data collection.
Gumbs added that the equipment will assist his ministry in its Land Bank programme, which aims to make land available to those who want to access land for farming but are unable to do so.
Corliss Murray, a representative from the Land and Surveys Department said they are “very ecstatic at this time for the provision of this very useful piece of equipment”.
“It comes at a time when the government is embarking on several projects and the base of all of these projects is land. Land forms the base of agriculture and other developments…” he said. Murray revealed that the department at present has imagery of the country from 2007 and they have been dealing with the challenge of acquiring new, up to date imagery.
“And at this time, we must really thank the FAO, through the Land Bank, for providing such an up to date, sophisticated survey enabled piece of equipment…,” the Land and Surveys department representative said.
Dr Coleen Phillips, FAO National correspondent for SVG was also present at the November 26 ceremony to deliver remarks.