Tunisia Trains First Set of Drone Pilots for Agricultural Productivity
Eight pilots have successfully passed their drone flight training in Tunisia following a two-week intensive training period organised by the Ministry of Agriculture of Tunisia, the African Development Bank (AFDB) and Busan Techno Park.
The training which focused on handling, maintenance and the security aspects of flying drones, took place in Tunis from 19-30 November 2018. The eight were the first batch out of 40 candidates selected for the exercise, which envisages training a total of 400 young Tunisians by 2021.
The project will also see the setting up of a training centre equipped with training drones as well as computer simulation tools for drone control. This centre is expected to be upgraded to a centre of excellence in drone technology. The training also focused on promoting drone-centred activities in Tunisia in view of promoting efficiency and effectiveness.
“It is very good training. I want to share my experience. I would like to participate in this project and contribute for the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in my country Tunisia and my region, Africa,” said Lazhar Meskine, an air traffic management engineer, who was among the trainees.
After accumulating 20 hours of flight time and passing the practical flight, they obtained a “Drone Pilot Certificate” recognised by the Tunisian government. The four best trainees from this first batch will undergo further training for eight weeks to accumulate 100 hours of flight time. This will make them eligible to take the certification examination and qualify as drone pilot trainers.
The participants were highly enthusiastic about the training.
“I have also learned many things through Tunisian trainees. It gives us a great chance to understand the local situation for further projects by using drone technologies,” their instructor, Mr. Yong-ju Seo, added.
The pilot project on the use of drones for agricultural development projects in the Sidi Bouzid region ( central Tunisia), is financed by a grant from the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC), under the management of the African Development Bank and Busan Techno Park. The latter has already tested the drones for efficacy in managing similar urban projects.
Korea is a leading country in the development and use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for real-time data collection and processing.
Considering that using drones in agriculture enables the provision of fast and accurate data thereby helping to improve decision-making at all stages of a project, from preparation to implementation and evaluation, this is a great move by Tunisia.
Hopefully, it grows from this and other African countries pick up the same initiative in no time.