World Food Forum

FAO and Government of Philippines using aerial drones to ensure food security

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The Philippines has started to deploy drones to find out where farmland is most at risk from natural disasters and quickly assess damage after they strike. Assessment of vulnerable farmland can minimise the negative impacts of climate change, floods and typhoons and avoid the need to build the agriculture sector back from scratch after a disaster.

The Philippines is one of the countries most at risk from natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, droughts and floods, which have a heavy impact on farming and access to food. Under the pilot project funded by the Philippines government and FAO, two unmanned drones have already been sent to provinces affected by the El Nino weather pattern.

The drones are capable of covering up to 600 hectares (1,500 acres) of land per day and can generate data and detailed maps from aerial photographs, including an indicator that can be used to analyse vegetation and plant health. Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013, killed more than 6.000 people and destroyed 600.000 hectares of farmland, inflicting more than $700 million damage to the agriculture sector.

Reuters, 25 April
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