Livestock farmers in Rwanda will be the next beneficiaries of first drone port with livestock vaccines delivered on the farms.Following its success in delivering the first drone guided medical supplies, Zipline is now focusing on highest impact deliveries to support government plans of improving agriculture and livestock production.
Statistics indicate that 90 percent of loss in livestock productivity is currently being caused by East Coast Fever, which is prevalent in the East African regional countries.
“Rwanda, through the ministry of Agriculture is currently examining a vaccine for east coast fever. Once it is approved, we will start supplying livestock vaccines by this year,” William Hetzler, the COO of the American company Zipline told KT Press today alongside the Africa Aviation 2017 conference taking place in Kigali.
For now, the robotics company has to beat the challenge of establishing infrastructure, software and training the Rwandan farmers expected to benefit from this service.
“We need to survey farm areas, train staff, establish sky maps and develop software for this project. This takes time and the biggest challenge is locating suitable delivery locations, which is one of the challenges we faced in listing hospitals,” said Bosco Nkurunziza, the Zipline Flight Operator and Controller.
The Silicon Valley based drone robotics company has also raised $25 million for its expansion in Africa especially in Tanzania, developing next generation aircrafts which will also be used in Rwanda.
“Zipline will focus on health deliveries in Tanzania as it is in Rwanda but we are also looking at livestock and agricultural supplies delivery which is lacking in the market yet there is a vast demand,” said Nkurunziza.
More drone services are also in the pipeline. Imagine forgetting your passport and wallet after a trip in Akagera Park and you have to take the next flight to a business meeting in New York. Zipline will have a solution soon.
Zipline is now looking into future plan to expand its services to deliver more packages besides health services.
“This is possible and we are considering it for the next years. First, we are focusing on services with high impact in African countries especially health and agriculture,” Hetzler said.