Currently, more than half of working Africans have jobs in agriculture, but poor infrastructure, inadequate tools and a lack of investment have left the continent's mostly small-scale farms struggling to feed a growing population. Now, a wave of technological solutions is aiming to help.
In Ghana, a company called Acquahmeyer rents out drones that help small-scale farmers check the health of crops and use pesticide only where it is needed, reducing pollution and health risks.
With drones, farmers can identify pests and disease to determine exactly which crops need spraying, Nelson says. Thanks to the reduced use of chemicals (pesticide use dropped 50 percent in some cases), it's easier for farmers to meet EU countries' regulatory limits.
Acquahmeyer is now working with 8,000 farmers, who pay $5 to $10 per acre, about 6 times a year, to assess their crops and soil and apply pesticides. Each drone costs $5,000 to $15,000 to build and can spray 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) a year.
The company started in June 2018 with two drones and now has 10. It makes an annual profit of $15,000 to $30,000 per drone, after operations and administration costs. With more than 15 million hectares (37 million acres) of agricultural land in Ghana, demand for drones is only growing, chief operations officer Kenneth A. Nelson told edition.cnn.com.