An Indian-based drone startup Garuda Aerospace has partnered with Harare Institute of Technology and Nyangani Virtual University to offer drones-as-a-service to the agriculture industry in Zimbabwe.
This is Garuda’s second global venture and the first in Africa. In June, Garuda announced it was setting up a drone factory in Malaysia in collaboration with HiiLSE Drones, a Malaysian drone company.
Garuda said that its partnership with the technical institutes will facilitate the application of drones by both government and private sector in the African country.
In agriculture, Garuda’s drones will be used for carrying out large scaling mapping, inspection and training to increase the agricultural output.
“We are constantly on the lookout for partnerships that enable us to deploy drones for agricultural applications that empower the ecosystem and the farmers,” Agnishwar Jayapraksh, founder and chief executive of Garuda Aerospace said in a statement Thursday.
Jayapraksh said that the objective of the new partnership is to add value to the agriculture ecosystem by providing them with drones that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies.
The startup claims it has over 30 types of drones and offers 50 drone-based services including precision agriculture spray, damage inspection, warehouse management, seed dropping, cleaning of solar panels and delivery of medicines using drones. The startup is already offering some of these services in India.
For instance, last week it announced the completion of the plantation of 75 000 seeds using drones in partnership with Rotary Club Bombay and the Tamil Nadu Forest Department. Garuda is also tied up with food delivery platform Swiggy to deliver groceries.
Founded in 2015, Garuda is backed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The start-up raised US$30 million in a Series-A round last month at a valuation of US$250 million.
Some of the more common agricultural applications using drones include pest control, health monitoring, livestock management, soil analysis, and aerial survey.
One of the best examples to illustrate successful drone usage in agriculture is plant health monitoring. The health of a farmer’s crop is of critical importance to achieving the highest yields.