Drone technology used in padi fields in Kelantan

PASIR PUTEH —  The use of drone technology to facilitate spraying of pesticides and fertiliser in padi fields is becoming popular in Kelantan, thus encouraging the young people to venture into agro-entrepreneurship.

The use of drone in agriculture in Kelantan is pioneered by Noor Hanif Noordin, 33, who said that since he introduced the technology in March this year, more and more farmers are seeking the service of his company, Perak-based Ikhwan Afif Resources (IAR), for the use of drones at their farms.

Noor Hanif said he came up with the idea of using drone after failing to get workers to spray pesticides and fertiliser at his in-law’s padi field in Endau, Johor.

“I started offering the drone service for agriculture after purchasing two units of drones, worth RM70,000 which were assembled by IAR,” he said when met while he was conducting fertlising work using a drone at a padi field in Bendang Jelor here.

He said the use of drone technology to spray pesticides and fertiliser at padi fields was becoming more popular, especially among farmers in the Kota Bharu, Bachok, Pasir Puteh, Pasir Mas and Tumpat  districts.

The demand for the use of drones by farmers is overwhelming, he said, adding that the service has been able to provide him with side income of up to RM7,000 a month.

Noor Hanif, who is also an Information Technology Officer at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), said he is assisted by four employees, who have licence issued by the Department of Civll Aviation (DCA)  to fly the drone.

“By using drone, spraying of pesticide or fertiliser will be more widespread and faster, as well as cost-saving, as only 15 litre of fertiliser or pesticide is needed for a 0.4 hectare farm.

“The time taken is only seven minutes,” he said, adding that the use of drone can optimise treatment of the padi crop, hence improving the quality of rice, as well as reduces cost and manpower.

He said the charge imposed by IAR Pantai Timur Enterprise for the use of the drone in padi fields is RM30 per 0.4 hectare site.

With the use of the drone, we can spar pesticide and fertiliser to up to 24 hectares of padi fields a day, he added.

He said weather played an important factor to fly the drone, which may weigh up to 56 kg each, as its above ground level (AGL) has to be monitored to ensure comprehensive spraying of the pesticides or fertiliser for effective result.

“The drone cannot be flown on rainy day or during strong winds and the standard operating procedure (SOP) to be observed when flying a drone includes wearing face shield and gloves, as well as those outlined by the Agriculture Department,” he added.

Noor Hanif, who hails from Kampung Sri Kulim Melor, Kota Bharu, near here, said he would expand the use of drone in padi fields to other districts in Kelantan, as well as Pahang.