Can Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Accelerate Farm Mechanization in Asia Pacific?

The current adoption of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Agriculture (Ag Drones) in selected Asian countries remains very low and the potential for the technology is high, per the latest industry report from Ipsos Business Consulting, a global growth strategy advisory firm.

The paper – Commercial Drone Adoption in Agribusiness: Disruption and Opportunity – notes that aerial agricultural tools in China affects less than 2% of farm area, highlighting the huge potential for a technology that has long been heralded as being the answer to the question of how to make mechanization accessible to smallholder farmers across Asia and other regions. The corresponding figures for Thailand and Philippines is less
than 10% of farm area, whilst aerial tools in South Korea cover less than 15% of farm area.

“Although earliest applications of agriculture drones can be traced to the late 1970s Japan, commercial applications of drones in agriculture has only recently started to gain momentum” said Markus Scherer, who leads Ipsos Business Consulting’s centre of excellence for commercial drone technology. “For many value chain players, application of this technology has provided farmer operators an affordable alternative technological tool to implement precision agriculture practices as well as address resource efficiency when managing crops.”

The report provides evidence o that there are considerable opportunities in Asia for the manufacturers of UAVs as well as the challenge for the agribusiness companies to find ways of effectively utilizing this technology so that it is both affordable and practical for the small farmer as well as the large commercial farms.” Mr. Scherer highlights that both Thailand and the Philippines had less than 10% of farm area subject to aerial tools,
whilst South Korea has less than 15%, reinforcing the point that the challenges and opportunities really are Asia Pacific issues and not just China centric.

Typically marketed and perceived as a precision agriculture tool however, an often overlooked value proposition of this technology lies in the application agriculture drones can offer for more traditional farming practices.

The business implications of agriculture drones in this context is also attractive, some studies estimate that agriculture drones can reduce water usage by 90% for irrigation, and reduce up to 30-50% in chemical use. Natee Ruengjirachuporn, Global Agribusiness Sector Lead for Ipsos Business Consulting noted that there were similarities with earlier farm mechanization initiatives, but agreed with Mr. Scherer that the UAV technology has greater potential to provide an affordable farm mechanization option that can be more easily embraced by farmers in both plantation and individual farmer segments.

“Governments and industry have long wrestled with the challenge of fast tracking the rate of mechanisation within agriculture to improve yields and quality. Whilst there has been pockets of success across the Asia Pacific region, the rate of farm mechanisation has not been as fast as everyone would like to see, often due to the typical farm size making many mechanisation options unaffordable. Aerial tools have huge potential to jump past this hurdle. We can also see many AgTech players have been actively trying to introduce their products and services in this region, nevertheless different farming practices and farmer’s behaviors amongst countries could be one of the key considerations for players to have a successful market
penetration in this region.”

Uncovering alternative opportunities from agriculture drone technology, it becomes pertinent to examine current farming practices, potential paths to adoption, and market attractiveness to assess the extent of impact by agriculture drones.

Commercial Drone Adoption in Agribusiness – Disruption and Opportunity has a firm message for those industry players hoping to be a catalyst for the growth in farm: there have been many innovative products and technologies launched in the Asian agricultural industry since the turn of the century, with few having the expected impact. Those companies hoping to take advantage of an expected boom in drone technology must first do their homework. A clear understanding of the factors and implications at play in agriculture drone adoption is essential for determining the roadmap for adoption of this technology. In each market context, the Ipsos Business Consulting paper also illustrates the variance in regulatory environment, productivity challenges, and economic incentives influencing the speed of agriculture drone adoption in each country.

Topics: , , ,

Asia

Agrichemicals

CAC Crop Protection Show Continues to Expand

China’s agrichemical industry continues to deal with strict environmental regulations, which have impacted sourcing around the world. CAC 2018 gives

Agrichemicals

Global Crop Protection Market: Overcoming Challenges and Finding Opportunity in 2018

The end of the old year and start of the new is a natural time to reflect on where we’ve

china-farm-agriculture
Asia

Why China Needs Bigger Farms

Communist countries have always liked model workers, according to an article on TheEconomist.com. Zhang Xinsheng is China’s latest farmer to

Asia

Indian Crop Care Chief: Budget Must Focus on Farm Exports

The Crop Care Federation of India has urged the Centre to focus on increasing the country’s agriculture exports by facilitating

wheat-field
Africa/Middle East

Changing the Narrative: It’s Not Just About Yield

For years now when someone outside the industry asks what I do, I give them the “elevator speech,” the 30-second

Aarav-Unmanned-Systems-team
Asia

12 Indian Agritech Startups to Watch Out For in 2018

Farming is a profession of hope. And India holds the record for the second-largest agricultural land in the world, with

China-Soy-Shipments
Asia

U.S. to Tighten Standard for Soy Shipped to China

U.S. officials will impose stricter quality controls on exports of soybeans headed to China in response to a request from

Asia

ICAR: Indian Farming Needs Tech Revolution to Ensure Food Security

If food security needs to be ensured in India, there must be a technological revolution in agriculture, director of Indian

Asia

India: Farm Data Set to Get Space Tech Boost

The quality of India’s agriculture sector statistics could soon improve with the government tapping satellite imagery technologies to upgrade the

Rice
Agrichemicals

Agrichemicals: India Has Room to Grow

India is growing and it is growing at a fast pace. The growth has been seen on every front —

corn-field-close-up
Asia

China Reduces Corn Planting Area Amid Excessive Stock

China’s corn planting area is expected to be reduced by 1.33 million hectares in 2017 as the country seeks to

Agrichemicals

Slideshow: AgriBusiness Global Hosts Trade Summit Southeast Asia

AgriBusiness Global hosted its Trade Summit Southeast Asia from Dec. 5-6 in Jakarta, Indonesia at the J S Luwansa Hotel.

Asia

China’s Citic Sees Brazil as Growth Driver After Corn Deal

Citic Agri Fund, an investment vehicle created by China’s largest conglomerate, has chosen Brazil as the platform for its global

Agrichemicals

PMFAI Hosts 12th Annual Conference & Exhibition

The 12th International Crop Science Conference & Exhibition (ICSCE) organized by the Pesticides Manufacturers & Formulators Association of India (PMFAI)

Gharda-Chemicals
Asia

Unique Strength in R&D, History Guide Gharda’s Growth Path

N.P. Nair, Vice President of International Sales, shares his perspective on the company’s vision and other issues impacting the market,

ChemChina
Asia

ChemChina Thrives at Home on Strategy of ‘Going Out’

Back when the Chinese government was encouraging state-owned enterprises and private sector companies to “go out” of the country, few

Asia

How Technology Can Drive Change in Indian Agriculture

India is witnessing an agritech revolution spurred by about 300 entrepreneurs who are trying to disrupt the agricultural supply chain

Asia

Sinochem Launches Intelligent Farming Platform

The Sinochem Group has launched an intelligent agricultural platform in east China’s Anhui Province, which the major producer of chemicals

china-farm-agriculture
Asia

China to Phase Out More Pesticides in Push to Improve Food Safety

China plans to eliminate another 12 highly toxic pesticides from use within five years, state media reported late on Monday,

Latest News

Biostimulants

Sigma Agriscience Acquires Agricultural Solutions Company AM-AG

Sigma Agriscience, a manufacturer of granular biofertilizers and biostimulants, has acquired a controlling interest in AM-AG, an international marketer and

Africa/Middle East

Kenya Dairy Industry Sheds Light on Market Challenges, Opportunities

In December, I had the privilege to serve as a volunteer consultant with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Kenya.

Agrichemicals

Opinion: Why the Crop Protection Industry Needs Strategic Vision

The crop protection industry faces a dilemma. In the uncertain and globally competitive world of crop protection, focus has primarily

NPK

Sustainability at The Mosaic Company: Former CEO Shares Insight into How They Did It

Leading an organization today requires navigating the pushes and pulls of multiple stakeholders: generating shareholder returns, delivering value to customers,

Africa/Middle East

Eastern African Nations Move to Harmonize Fertilizer Regulations

Eastern Africa countries are working to harmonize the region’s fertilizer market, a move that could improve not only demand for