An Official from Zipline Rwanda – a robotics firm operating unmanned aircraft-drones that deliver blood and medicines to hospitals in remote areas has said that their new deal to deliver farming inputs is paying off.
In Rwanda since 2016, Zipline has now grown to include other African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, United States and Kenya which is coming soon.
Early this year, started delivery of swine semen Zipline for use in artificial insemination to facilitate farmers’ access to improved breeds and boost the pig industry.
The service is a partnership with Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).
“In the past, it was challenging to supply the semen due to transport inconveniences, but we can now supply whoever needs them in thirty minutes from any corner of the country safely, “Ngabire said.
While the drone flies as higher as 120 meters, its landing allows it to deliver as per expectation.
The drone releases the delivery box at ten meters high and reaches the ground without any damage whatsoever.
“We are no just delivering swine semen, we also deliver medicines and vaccines,” he further said.
“The drone can carry two kilograms for a single trip, but we can send 28 drones in the same destinations which means that we can meet demand of any client here.”
According to Ngabire, for a farmer to place an order, they go through a veterinary doctor who is registered in the Zipline system.
The doctor then pick the delivery box and proceed with his work in service to the farmer.
Bernard Banzubaze, a veterinary Doctor from Cyabingo Sector, Gakenke District in Northern Province said that they have been working with Zipline Rwanda for the last six months and it is paying off.
“It has been six months working with Zipline in delivering Swine semen to our farmers. It has improved the reproduction of the pigs,” he said.
According to Banzubaze, before Zipline deal, a farmer would pick the swine semen doses from Kisaro sector in Gicumbi district.
They would board a bus to Gakenke, a trip that takes several hours, which could affect the whole activity.
“Animals have their heat period. When the semen dose is not applied on due time, the insemination fails. Zipline has bailed us out,” Banzubaze said.
“We still have some technological issues, in ordering we do need connection, when the connection fails, we cannot have the semen or they may be late. And also, we sometimes have to wait due to zipline overloads because they do have many demands,” Banzubaze explained.
He further added that they are keeping sensitizing their farmers to use that Artificial Insemination and they are hoping to improve the farming Sector in their region by working with Zipline.
According to Zipline’s Ngabire, in the last six months, they have delivered more than 3300 doses of swine semen, and more than 360, 000 rift valley vaccines in 27 districts.
Meanwhile, Ngabire explained that despite drones being unmanned aircrafts, they do not operate in disorder; rather, they are operated following designed roads.
A launcher enables the take-off for the drone whose battery can run for two hours, which is enough because on average, its single trip takes 30 minutes on average, or just a maximum of 45 minutes.
Very importantly, Zipline drone has security features which allow the aircraft a safe landing.
Its system is in such a way that important features are in pair, which allows it to switch to the second system in case there is a challenge in the first one.
Zipline Rwanda operates from two drone ports of Muhanga, Southern Province and Kayonza in Eastern Province.