Former FUNAAB Student Qualifies as Drone Pilot in UK

A former student in the Department of Horticulture, College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) of the University, Mr. Femi Adekoya has qualified as a Drone Pilot with Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) License, granted by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Explaining the objective of learning and adopting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drone, Mr. Adekoya said he was using it as a tool to improve the efficiency of agriculture and doing precision agriculture, to improve food security and resource use efficiency.

He added that it was also used to help farmers adapt to unfavourable climate realities, reduce carbon footprint in agriculture and contribute to environmental sustainability.

Mr. Femi Adekoya showcasing some of his newly invented drones.

Mr. Adekoya stressed that it was his career goal to be an astute professional in agriculture by contributing to global food security within the context of sustainable environment through technological innovations and proven scientific knowledge. He disclosed that professionalism in the use of drone encompasses operators’ ability to understand safety in drone-use, analysis, assessment of operational risks and more importantly, by following to the letters, regulatory guidelines. He stated that as a drone operator under the law, he is allowed to use small and unmanned aircrafts below 20 kilogram for commercial projects, adding that drones still raise consciousness and concerns bordering on privacy and public safety.

Mr. Femi Adekoya displaying some of the drones with one of the members of CAA.

Commenting on his brilliance, the Head, Department of Plant Physiology and Crop Production (PP&CP), COLPLANT, Prof. Akeem Oyekanmi recalled when he visited Mr. Adekoya’s cucumber farm at FUNAAB in early 2018, noting that he was highly impressed by his desire and commitment at putting into practice what he had studied. Prof. Oyekanmi congratulated him for qualifying as a Drone Pilot, saying that it was another feather added to his cap. He described drone as a technology that is used to carry out many problem-solving activities in the field of crop production, stating that these included, but not limited to field surveys, soil moisture and nutrient mapping, prevalence of pests and diseases, incidence of vertebrate intruders, and other types of data collection, among others. Mr. Adekoya graduated with a 4.55 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) in 2015 and had already commenced his postgraduate studies with the Centre for Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE), before winning a scholarship to study in the UK.