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Absa Insights 2019

Crop-spraying drones are taking Africa into greener pastures

1 August 2019 5:00 AM
Maximizing yields and profits require agricultural investment – that's why South African farmers are opting for agri-tech.

Absa Insights is a portal where the bank’s sector experts share essential learnings and new developments with its clients and other businesses. The world is changing; so in 2019 Absa has introduced a series of discussions featuring high-level thinking around Consumer Goods and Services, Agriculture, Telecommunications, Mining and Energy and Infrastructure. Bookmark Absa Insights, where the bank shares insights from discussions designed to help you navigate the ever-shifting trends that are shaping the economy.

Listen to the audio below (or scroll down for a summary of it).

The demand for food products across the world is increasing and, in highly competitive global agriculture markets, farmers are expected to keep up.

Sub-Saharan Africa could double the population over the next 30 - 40 years, which will create a demand for food... that definitely would be one of the reasons why agriculture is a strategically important growth area for us.

Roux Wildenboer, Head of sector coverage, Secondary Agriculture – Absa Corporate and Investment Banking

Tackling this increasing demand requires investment into agri-tech, which agri role players believe to be the only way that we're going to feed the African continent.

Precision agriculture has taken root in South Africa

The rise of precision agriculture has seen a change in the way that food is produced.

Challenging landscapes leave no margin for error. For this reason, a growing number of farmers have started making significant investments into high-tech farming methods and have already seen a reduction in time, costs and food waste.

The new technologies allow farmers to gather data on soil, plants and the weather, allowing them to effectively manage the variables in the field and optimise operations. Farmers can then map and monitor the state of their crops and make decisions to prevent losses – increasing yields and lowering overall costs by large margins.

We see that all our main clients are investing heavily in technology.

Hendrik Van Der Linde – Coverage Banker, Secondary Agriculture, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking

Drone technology will radically transform farming in South Africa

This year, South Africa's first licensed crop-spraying drones took flight, signifying a major breakthrough for the agricultural sector.

We have readily access to a lot of improvements... the developments of drone technology where farmers can spray their crops with drones.

Ray Van Rooyen, Coverage Banker, Secondary Agriculture – Absa Corporate and Investment Banking

Still in its infancy – unmanned drones, which are much more cost efficient than traditional crop-spraying tractors have the ability to access crops in difficult terrain and, can fly closer, spraying pesticides and fertilisers with precision.

Farmers are not looking at opportunities without considering the profitability of those opportunities.

Ray Van Rooyen, Coverage Banker, Secondary Agriculture – Absa Corporate and Investment Banking

For more detail, watch the video below. Roux Wildenboer (Secondary Agriculture, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking) in discussion with Hendrik Van Der Linde and Ray Van Rooyen (Secondary Agriculture, Absa Corporate and Investment Banking) on the investment opportunities, infrastructure constraints and the potential that technology presents in the agricultural sector on the African continent.

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1 August 2019 5:00 AM

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