THE Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) are considering using drones for aerial spraying.
Agriculture officials met with the group last week to discuss various issues and concerns affecting the banana industry.
Stephen A. Antig, PBGEA executive director, told Sun.Star Davao in a text message that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala "suggested that we might consider using drones in aerial spraying to avoid possible drift if ever and we agreed to look into the feasibility of the new technology."
Speaking at the Timorex Gold product launch, Alcala himself said drones "might be the answer that we have been looking for to address issues on aerial spraying."
DA chief of staff Emerson U. Palad told Sun.Star Davao in separate interview at the sidelines of the Regional Cacao Stakeholders' Congress last Friday that drones are low-flying and can deliver a more concentrated spray of chemicals, compared to planes.
"The usual plane has a vertical clearance ranging from six to 10 meters above the ground, while this new technology (drone) will only fly around one and a half to two meters above the ground," Palad said.
Japan, China and several other countries are already using drones for aerial spraying. Such a specialized drone cost between P500,000 and P1 million.
The downside is that a drone has a much smaller payload for chemicals which could slow down the spraying process and make it more expensive in the long run, Antig said.