Revolutionising agriculture in Jan Kempdorp: Drones take flight to combat climate change

Man holding a drone

Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 16, 2023


In Jan Kempdorp a small town nestled amidst the arid landscapes of the Northern Cape, a pioneering school is harnessing the power of drones to revolutionise agriculture and combat the pressing challenges posed by climate change.

At the forefront of this ground-breaking endeavour is Northern Cape Agricultural School, where students and teachers alike are embracing technology to soar above the limitations of traditional farming methods.

Globally drones have been tested and found that they play a significant role in fighting climate change by assisting in various environmental monitoring and mitigation efforts, such as Forest Monitoring, Wildlife Conservation, Precision Agriculture, Air Quality Monitoring and Renewable Energy Infrastructure.

Taking the lead at the Northern Cape Agricultural School is Sammy Ndluzela, a teacher who is passionate about both education and the environment. He spoke to Rural Action for Climate Resilience about the transformative power of drones in agriculture.

“Drones provide us with a bird’s-eye view of the fields, allowing us to monitor crops, detect signs of stress, and optimize irrigation,” he explained. “With this advanced technology, we can make informed decisions, saving both water and energy resources while maximising yields.”

Former learner, Lebogang Mocumi, now a budding agricultural entrepreneur, credits his time at Northern Cape Agricultural School for igniting his passion for technology-driven farming practises.

“Working with drones during my education opened my eyes to the immense potential of technology in agriculture,” Mocumi explained. “I witnessed first-hand how drones improved efficiency, reduced labour requirements, and increased overall productivity. This experience inspired me to pursue further studies in agriculture and fueled my dream of establishing my own technologically advanced farm.”

The current generation of learners at Northern Cape Agricultural School are not only aware of the benefits that drones bring to the field but also deeply committed to addressing the urgent issue of climate change.

Simba Mofu is the current student at the NC Agricultural School,, he spoke passionately about the crucial role drones play in mitigating the effects of a changing climate. “Climate change is affecting our planet, and agriculture is not immune to its impacts,” Mofu said. “Drones help us detect early signs of crop stress and optimise resource usage. By embracing this technology, we can minimise the environmental footprint of farming and work towards a more sustainable future,” he told RACR.

According to Ndluzela Northern Cape Agricultural School stands as a shining example of how technology, in the form of drones, can bridge the gap between agricultural traditions and the challenges of the modern world.

By harnessing the power of innovation, this visionary institution is nurturing a new generation of farmers equipped with the knowledge and skills to confront the complexities of climate change head-on.

As drones continue to take flight over the fields of Jan Kempdorp the impact on agriculture becomes increasingly evident. The school’s adoption of this cutting-edge technology not only empowers students and educators but also offers a glimmer of hope for a brighter, more sustainable future. By utilising drones, farmers can reduce the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides, optimise resource allocation, and minimise environmental impact.

Drones enable precise mapping and analysis of soil conditions, allowing farmers to apply targeted treatments and fertilizers, thus minimising waste and maximising crop health. The ability to detect signs of stress and disease early on helps prevent widespread crop loss and increases overall yields.

These advancements in agricultural practices not only benefit farmers but also contribute to ensuring food security in the face of a changing climate.

The application of drone technology in agriculture extends beyond the boundaries of Agricultural School. It is a part of a larger global trend where farmers are recognising the value of incorporating innovative solutions to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

With the help of drones, farmers can adapt their practices to ensure long-term sustainability, conserve natural resources, and reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional farming methods.

Showcasing how the integration of drones into agriculture can transform the way crops are cultivated while addressing the urgent need to combat climate change.

Boyzie Gabuza drone expert, explains that with each drone taking flight, “we inch closer to a more sustainable and resilient future, where agriculture and technology work hand in hand to nourish our planet and secure our collective future,” he told RACR.

Gabuza added that. “Drone technology has the potential to significantly improve the sustainability and efficiency of agriculture, leading to benefits for farmers and the environment alike”.

** This story was produced through the Youth Citizen Journalism Fellowship, an initiative of the Rural Action for Climate Resilience project, which is co-funded by the EU and the Heinrich Boll Foundation