A group of panelists comprising of experts in drone and solar technologies, bureaucrats and academia have suggested different ways in which adoption of twin frontier technologies of drone and solar can be employed in solving various socio-economic challenges facing the country, especially in the agriculture and health sectors.
The panelists spoke Thursday on the platform presented by Crown Agents Nigeria to discuss frontier technology and demonstration of drone designed to deliver humanitarian supplies and ways that Nigeria can harness solar power to drive development. The event was held at the Baze University, Abuja.
An expert in Health Logistics from the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Odoemena, said Nigerian government need to harness the opportunity that drone technology can provide in effective and efficient distribution and supply of drugs, foods and relief materials to distressed people in disaster-ravaged areas across the country.
The technology, Odoemena said, would be useful in no small measure to achieve the aim of the recently inaugurated Nigeria Supply Chain Integration Project which is an inter-discipline initiative anchored by the Presidency to make the nation’s supply system more effective, efficient and resilient to the remotest areas of the country.
He noted that it is usually difficult in getting aid materials across to physically challenging areas such as riverine areas and mountains but could be easily achieved using the drone technology.
“The nation’s supply chain supposes to be resilience to get into geographically challenged areas”, he said.
An agriculture expert, Engr. Tunde Bello of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture said the ministry will avail itself of the opportunities provided by drone technology to solve most of the agriculture related problems, some of which are of national concern.
The technology, he said, could be used in the aerial mapping of lands which can solve land dispute cases among communities that have resulted in clashes claiming several hundreds of lives and properties.
Of great importance, he added, is the fact that drone technology could be deployed to demarcate farming land and grazing land which has been causes of farmers and herdsmen clashes across the country, most especially, in Benue, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi and some states in the southern part of the country.
Bello as well said the technology could be used in soil mapping to determine particular soil temperature suitable for a particular crop to assist in bountiful yields and to solve the problem of acute food shortage in the country.
“The ministry will look at developing policies along this line to prepare a database on required information for interested investors in the agricultural sector”, he said while he was optimistic that if implemented, the drone technology will surely outlive the present administration.
Demonstrating the drone technology, Daniel Ronen, co-founder of UAVAid Ltd said drone, a new humanitarian and development application will replace $127 billion of labour and services by the year 2020 and that its sales will reach $5 billion per annum because it is cost effective to access in remote areas for data gathering and distribution of infrastructure.
He said the technology can be effectively used by the Nigerian government in distributing relief materials, food items and drugs in insurgent ravaged areas of North-East Nigeria.
The technology, he said, has multiple functions; can be used for rural mobilisation, it has excellent flight stability, has a long range flight of about 8 hours, smooth take-off and landing mechanism, efficient package delivery and aerial mapping and surveillance services.
The Chairman of Crown Agent, Ms. Marie Staunton said the organisation has been solving many physical problems in many parts of Nigeria in her 100 years of existence in the country and was sure that the new technology will help improve the socio-economic development of the country.
Staunton said Crown Agents is a high impact social enterprise and International Development company with Head Office in the U.K and global reach, having worked in over 130 countries.
According to her, Crown Agents focuses on different specialised areas like Health, Humanitarian & Stabilisation, Governance, Economic Growth and Supply Chain Management.
“Earlier this year, on January 24, 2017 to be precise, Crown Agents Foundation sponsored a similar event in the U.K, titled, Drones: The Next Game-changer for Development Aid? The focus of the 5th July event is on how new technologies can be harnessed for good, humanitarian and development purposes. Mobile technology has revolutionised people’s lives in many parts of the developing world by expediting change and we believe that Nigeria can take a lead role,” she stated.
The Keynote address was delivered by Parminder Vir, CEO of Tony Elumelu Foundation who spoke on the theme: Technologies as a Driver of Economic Innovation and Entrepreneurship.