With six months onwards from becoming one of the select IUPAC Next Generation Champions I reflect back, and see how far I have come. I started my journey with creating a space for a dialogue on how to best align 4th industrial revolution technologies (drones) into agribusiness management: Drone technology to tackle pests in Botswana. This has transformed into the 4IR Farmers MEET-UP 1.0 — the first symposium hosted in the farmland of Botswana through a platform known as TEMO-THUO MONANA a Setswana native name which translates in Youth In Agriculture.
This MEET-UP is being promoted under the official hashtag: #MaranyaneTemoThuo also a Setswana reference which translates into Technology in Agriculture.
These themes were fitting seeing as the objective of the MEET-UP is to motivate young people to be actively involved in Agriculture through utilizing relevant technologies that could be integrated in crop protection. In this case, with the focus being integrating drone technology into farming along with relevant applications to improve their functionality in the context of the Agribusiness sector in Botswana.
This has caught the attention of various stakeholders both locally and internationally. The major stakeholder in the MEET-UP is Track Your Build, which has pledged to endorse and showcase drones at the MEET-UP. Track Your Build is an organization that offers a combination of professional engineering services enhanced by using drone, satellite, and ground sensor data to create documents, drawings and advisory for projects, assets, and field service management. Some of its accolades include being selected by Airbus Bizlab for the 2019 Aerospace accelerator program in Nairobi, Toulouse, Berlin, Cape Town, and culminating and the Paris International Airshow. Therefore this collaboration will definitely help my initiative realise its main goal to bring Drone Tech into Botswana through strategic partnerships, whilst opportunity creating for local Agribusiness stakeholders.
The MEET-UP is scheduled to be hosted on 16 May 2020 at Pandamatenga Chobe National Show Grounds. It seeks to attract an audience of over 200 people, comprised of farmers, youth in agriculture, corporations, government, international companies in the Drone industry and more that 20 exhibitors from banking institutions, research institutions, agricultural start-ups and more.
The MEET-UP include a moderated panel session on the theme: 4.I.R in Botswana’s Agribusiness to increase production yield and commercialization. This session will have government officials, farmers, and private entities discussing the challenges faced by farmers in crop protection and to gauge the readiness of the farming community to integrate drones into crop protection, soil fertility management and farm mapping. This event will also be comprised of a short demonstration of drone capabilities in flight mode to allow the audience to view drone coverage. Also included will be a tour of the farm of a young local female agripreneur so that guests can learn and appreciate her farm operations which is doing well alongside the commercial farming space in Botswana.
Later on, to wrap up the event, there will a networking dinner organized at a selected Agro-Tourism establishment, also in an effort to foster local businesses run by farmers. This will be a great opportunity for all partners to meet and discuss collaborations post The MEET-UP.
Full details on the results of the MEET-UP will be in my next blog – however if you find yourself in Botswana in May, please don’t hesitate to drop by.
Antonette Ncube, N-GAGE Champion