Disrupting Paddy Farming With Drone Technology During Lockdown

An enterprising young man grew his business during the Covid-19 lockdown in Malaysia by using drones to spray pesticides over paddy fields.

Mohd Saifullah Halim, 22 from Kedah, Malaysia, started to offer his drone services to paddy farmers nearby and his business grew significantly since April 2020, in the middle of COVID-19 lockdown.

Farmers, who were worried about their crops and about Covid-19, and were unable to work during the period, sought his drone service business.

How It All Started

The young entrepreneur decided to embark on the drone business after graduating from his vocational college, Jitra Industrial Training Institute (ILP).

“I started with one drone which I bought to be used on an 11-hectare paddy field but soon after I began to get requests (for the service) from my father’s friends and also the villagers.”

The Drone Tech Advantage

The benefits of using drones in spraying pesticides and fertilizers are three-fold. First, it is highly efficient. Typically, it would take a farmer five hours to spray over a hectare of paddy field whereas it would only take a drone half an hour to cover the same area.

Secondly, drones spraying pesticides spray more evenly over an area than a manual labourer. Thirdly, humans are not exposed to regular chemical exposures of pesticides, which can cause harm over a period of time.

Lockdown Helped Business Grow

Mohd Saifullah Halim told Bernama, ” demand started pouring in during the (lockdown) period and I bought another drone to expand the service and to cater to the increasing needs of farmers around this area,”

He has since invested in a second drone and has two assistants to help him cover up to ten hectares of paddy fields per day.

He is currently making RM 5,000 per month (USD 1,170) from his business.

Mohd Saifullah said that there were now requests from vegetable farmers for similar services, and he encouraged other youths to venture into this untapped market.

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