Publications

Exploring the Challenges Posed by Regulations for the Use of Drones in Agriculture in the African Context

Ayamga, Matthew; Tekinerdogan, Bedir; Kassahun, Ayalew

Summary

Global food demands have led to the rapid introduction of Information Communication Technology (ICT) innovations in the agriculture sector—one such innovation is drone technology. Drones are used in precision agriculture, including aerial observation, sensing, and the spraying of pesticides. Regulations on the use of drones are necessary because drones can violate privacy rules, data protection rights, and public peace. However, many African countries have either very restrictive regulations, or no proper regulation in place, making the process of acquiring a license for drone operation cumbersome. In this study, we present the results of a literature review that explores the current drone regulations in Sub-Saharan Africa and the results of a systematic literature review (SLR) and survey study whereby we have interviewed the relevant stakeholders, in order to understand the challenges posed by the regulations to the effective use of drones for agriculture. The results indicate that the regulations contain about 40 to 85 per cent of the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) manual on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs). In addition, whilst the SLR focused on the technology, safety, ethics and regulatory hurdles towards drones, the interviewees focused on the need for skill and awareness among the responsible authorities to enforce regulations, and the need for sustainability and participatory process in defining regulations.