NOW, it is a common sight to watch drones hovering over agriculture farms in the Sultanate.
Drones now act as a boon to farmers working in date palms or in the farm sector.
Earlier, it was an arduous task to artificially pollinate date palms in farms. The pollination is naturally done by bees, but there has been a decline in bee population globally.
To help farmers overcome this problem, drones are fitted with a pod to store and dispense liquid pollen from the air. This also addresses labour problems as a single drone can pollinate acres of palms with less cost and more efficiency.
Wakan Tech is the first enterprise to carry out aerial date palm pollination and spray pesticides using its AI powered drones. They also developed a brand new brain for the robotic sector to replace the tasks of the farmer.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources launched a project to artificially pollinate date palms in its farms with drones developed by Wakan Tech, an agricultural drone and robotics specialists company.
Their solutions are designed to deliver real value for the farms boosted by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Agriculture farms in Barka were the first beneficiaries.
Eng Younis al Siyabi, Co-founder & CEO, Wakan Tech, says by using their technology, there is no need to climb the tree. “Our customised drones can do pollination in just 3 seconds for each tree. In addition, each tree uses about 15 per cent of pollen that is used in one tree in conventional methods. This technology will reduce heavy load to labours in farms and reduce the cost as well.”
Earlier, the farmers were required to work hard during pollination process which took them about 15 minutes for each tree.
During this process, farmers were required to climb the tree which was quite risky while clearing out the thistle and dead leaves in order to get a clear access to the flower cluster.
“This whole process used to take around 25 minutes depending on the height of each tree. The process also consumed a lot of pollen as towards having the pollen in each tree raised the cost factor,” he adds.
Eng Malik al Toubi, Co-founder & COO, Wakan Tech, says “Our solutions sound as a genre of speculative fiction that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts. However, currently we have proved them wrong. It was not very easy to convince people about the changes to be adapted.”
The founders of Wakan Tech have been in the AI and drones’ business for a long time working in different industries such as oil and gas and others. The company made sure they have a creative business plan that will lead to be run according to any circumstances.
Malik is of the view that Wakan Tech tries to maintain their lead in the agri-tech industry in the Sultanate.
“We will do our best not only to solve problems but also to bring in the future to the agricultural market and transform the farms into more intelligent ones. Our aim is to add values into the worldwide agri-tech market,” he adds.
Both Younis and Malik admit this is good for the farm sector. They further add that Wakan Tech wants to leave behind something which is appreciable. “We have the vision to pass the business onto future generations. The point is, we have to create something meaningful that is going to outlast for good.”
They agree that Oman and the world in general need to make the best out of 4IR technologies, especially when it comes to invoking the past into something more modern.
“Bringing the agri-tech solutions to the Sultanate market and developing what is lacking in the agricultural sector is mainly our focus,” they admit.