Nigerian startup Beat Drone, which uses drones to spray agricultural land, has been contracted by a Nigerian state government to help in the fight against the COVID-19.
Nigerian startup Beat Drone uses drones to execute spraying on farms, engage in crop supervision, and map farmland to improve agricultural yields.
Its platform allows a farmer to request a drone and schedule a date, and make payment, before drones are deployed for things like crop counting and mapping. During the coronavirus crisis, however, it has been contracted by the Ondo State government to work in a different way.
The government has imposed a lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, but also embarked on manual disinfection procedures to ensure rapid decontamination of neighbourhoods. Beat Drone is working with the Ondo state government in Nigeria to supply drones that will aid in disinfecting neighbourhoods faster and more accurately.
“Our experience in spraying farmlands all over Nigeria is coming into play here; we have recorded over 20,000 hours cumulatively spraying farmlands. We knew that we were the most experienced to engage the Nigerian government,” said Beat Drone president Odionye Confidence.
In addition to the collaboration on spraying, the Nigerian government will assist Beat Drone in setting up of a drone factory in Akure, Ondo State. The US$1.2 million factory will enable the startup to produce over 3,000 drones to aid in disinfecting all 36 states.
“Post-COVID-19, these drones will be used in eliminating mosquitoes, which account for malaria that kills over 300,000 people annually. The government will also utilise the drones on the farmlands to aid increase in harvest yields and reduce cost for farmers,” said Confidence.
He said the drone factory should be completed within three months, once delays caused by limited freight flights to Lagos are overcome.