Ronald Katamba, the brains behind Jaguza Livestock App, has added a new element to the popular application to make it more efficient.
The Jaguza Livestock App can now use the drone technology in livestock farming in Uganda.
Jaguza Livestock App is a software developed to help farmers track their animals so that they can get real-time data on their locations and health.
With drones, Katamba wants to make the technology solution developed for livestock more advanced and efficient.
On October 26, a group of government officials led by Joshua Akandwanaho, an official from National Information and Technology Authority (NITA) who also owns the Frank Farm Estates Ltd in Sembabule Ditrict visited the farm of Lameck Kasozi in Kasenyi, Entebbe to witness how the drone can be used to save time and money on farming.
While at the farm, Katamba demonstrated how drones can help livestock farmers reduce expenses on farm management and time invested in monitoring movement of animals.
By and large, in livestock farming, drones are used by farmers in monitoring livestock movements, water and pasture on the farm and fence conditions especially in areas that are difficult to access.
Bigger drones also carry thermal cameras that detect heat and a farmer can know, using the animal’s temperature, whether it is falling sick.
Bigger drones can also help in transporting materials to the farm.
Now, Katamba wants to make monitoring using drone technology in live stocking farming more modern.
He has invented a chip, an RFID tag, put on a cow’s ear so that using a drone, a farmer can count his cows or locate them when they hide or are being stolen.
Previously, farmers used hand-held devices to verify whether their cows were present as they entered the kraal in the evening, which was tiresome and time-consuming.
Akandwanaho, who has been using different technology at his farm where he keeps hundreds of cows, was quick to embrace the idea of drone technology in cattle monitoring.
Akandwanaho says using drones would be easier for farmers who own large farms
As demonstrated above, applying drone technology in livestock farming would be a game changer.
However, Uganda is yet to set rules and regulations on using drones in the country.
In fact, authorities have been impounding all imported drones citing security reasons.
However, some Ugandans have managed to sneak drones into the country for commercial photography.
Challenges of drone regulation, however, are not only in Uganda.
Many African countries do not have any laws that govern how the sector can be managed.
Kenya’s efforts to put in place the necessary laws suffered a setback in July when Parliament refused to endorse the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations 2017, citing safety and privacy concerns.
About 14 countries in Africa, including Rwanda and South Africa, have drone regulations.
Katamba speaks out
As he pursues his project of rolling out the drone technology in livestock farming, Katamba and his team are already struggling to obtain approval of their project from authorities.
He says he has already communicated to the Ministries of Defence and Agriculture about the matter.
In the face of these challenges, innovators have been advised to always involve government at an early stage of such projects to quicken the approval process.
According to lawyer Silver Kayondo, many technology developers do not involve government at the initial stage of designing these technologies, which becomes a challenge when it comes to putting in place laws that govern them.
“We assume that most government bureaucrats will understand and absorb our technologies as soon as they are released. It takes time for governments to internalize technologies,” he adds.
“What we should do is to engage governments and their relevant departments, at early stages of technology development and trial, impressing upon their potentials in socioeconomic development.”
It will take time
Ademola Ade, an expert within aerodrome technology at the UN, adds: “Policy changes to regulations usually take time and therefore don’t usually happen as fast as clicking a button to buy or fly a drone.
In Uganda, farmers in western Uganda have already started using drones in tea farming and boast of incredible results.
In Rwanda, the drones are helping to transform the health care system by delivering blood to remote hospitals.
In Tanzania, the unmanned aerial cars are also used in gas exploration. Drones are used to survey Casablanca port facilities and monitor ongoing construction.
Regular flights are organized over the port to ensure contractors meet their deadlines.