RADA encourages more young Jamaicans to go into agriculture through technology

RADA encourages more young Jamaicans to go into agriculture through technology

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) is encouraging more young people to take up career opportunities in agriculture, through the use of technology.

“Young people are attracted to technology. We have our drone programme and we are developing mobile apps for agricultural solutions.

“So, we are trying to attract young people and we are working with some of the tertiary institutions to get some of these young people interested. They have great ideas and can develop applications for agricultural solutions,” chief executive officer (CEO) of Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Peter Thompson, said.

Thompson, in a recent interview, added that the agency has established a drone unit as a result of a bilateral cooperation agreement between RADA and the Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

The CTA is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.

“We have received a drone from them and we are now building out a drone unit, trying to get more advanced drones which have capabilities to do mapping so we can use it to assist in our praedial larceny programme,” Thompson said.

He added that the drones will be used to identify crop areas, get accurate measurements of land parcels, and for vegetation indexing.

“Which means that we can fly over a particular crop area and determine the nutrient status of the soil as well as the nutrient status of the crop,” the RADA CEO explained.

Drones are effective in addressing praedial larceny, assessing damage following natural disasters such as a flood or hurricane, and will better assist farmers to put measures in place to boost crop yield.

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