Chinese commercial drones favored by South African farmers

Local farmers employs DJI drones for spraying on a farm in Clanwilliam area of the Western Cape province, South Africa. (Photo by drone company Integrated Aerial Systems)

A South African drone company recently launched a test for an agricultural sprayer drone in a farm in Clanwilliam area of the Western Cape province.

A black hexacopter drone carrying a white bucket sprayed pesticides around 10 meters above the ground. After finishing a series of moves, including hovering, turning and intermittent spraying, the drone gently landed.

The drone company, Integrated Aerial Systems, is one that focuses on drone commercialization and offers multiple products and services, said Dexter Tangocci, director and co-founder of the company. According to him, the company only uses drones manufactured by DJI, a Chinese technology company, for agricultural spraying.

Tangocci told People’s Daily that currently the company has eight DJI drones for agricultural spraying, and it is planning to expand the fleet to better meet its clients’ demand.

Sprayer drones are enjoying increasingly higher popularity in South Africa for its outstanding performance and convenience. They were firstly applied by sugarcane farmers, and then corn and orange planters. Today, the growers of rooibos, a kind of tea that is considered South Africa’s most valued natural treasures, have also started using the drones manufactured by the Chinese tech firm.

Tangocci introduced that drone spraying is a new business in South Africa. For farmers, this method is not cheaper than agricultural aircraft, but it is more flexible and targeted, as well as more friendly to smallholding farmers, he explained.

DJI offers a wide variety of drones which are safe and enduring, and come with global manufacturer warranty, he said, adding that DJI drones are prioritized by local farmers.

Environmental protection efforts are another reason for South African farmers to favor the Chinese drones. Srigale is a grower of rooibos who prefers DJI drones because of their performance in environmental protection. The design of the Chinese company can reduce pesticide residue as much as possible, which complies with the higher and higher environmental standards for crop planting in South Africa, Sriga said.

Chinese tech products are innovative and cost-effective, Tangocci said, whose company has also purchased many products manufactured by Chinese tech giant Huawei. According to him, Chinese tech brands including Xiaomi and Lenovo also enjoy a high popularity in South Africa, and “made in China” products are more and more recognized by local residents.

The man said he is planning to make DJI agricultural drones as flagship products and services of his company, and introduce higher-spec unmanned aerial vehicles from the Chinese firm, so as to expand application scenarios.

He said DJI is a global leader in commercial drones, and he’s honored to work with the company.

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