The demise of banana has been greatly exaggerated, but…

By David R Jones

The demise of the banana has been in the news regularly since a 2003 article in The New Scientist suggested that the crop may be extinct within 10 years. However, recent data indicate that between 2000 and 2017, global production of bananas grew at a compound annual rate of 3.2%, reaching a record of 114 million tonnes in 2017, up from around 67 million tonnes in 2000. Not bad for a crop that was supposedly on its death bed!

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Cavendish cultivar with no functional leaves in a plantation in Costa Rica after being left unprotected from Pseudocerscospora fijienis (photo: M. Sanchez and M Guzman, CORBANA)

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The view from above

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Remote sensing means soon we may be able to detect plant diseases before visual symptoms occur. CC0: ulleo Via Pixabay

We might not all be comfortable with the idea of unmanned drones, or government satellites scanning all corners of the earth but the data produced from these constant eye-in-the-skys is proving ever more useful in today’s environmental struggles. Continue reading

Unmanned aerial vehicles – Agriculture’s “game of drones”

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Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), more commonly referred to as drones, are not new technology.  They have been used commercially since the early 1980’s, but in recent year’s practical application of this technology has grown rapidly across a number of industries, with agriculture playing a key role in this expansion. With the global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, it is anticipated that agricultural productivity will need to increase by approximately 70% over the same time period, in order to meet demand.  With this in mind, agricultural producers are looking at ways to produce food and increase productivity in a sustainable manner.  Drones are increasingly being considered part of the solution.  So how can UAV’s be beneficial for the agricultural industry and how do they differ from existing methods?

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