Zipline Rwanda’s new contract to supply agricultural inputs bears fruit – KT PRESS

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Fiston Ngabire, Zipline Rwanda-Kayonza station manager

An official from Zipline Rwanda – a robotics company operating unmanned drones that deliver blood and medicine to hospitals in remote areas said their new deal to supply agricultural inputs is paying off.

In Rwanda since 2016, Zipline has now expanded to include other African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, USA and Kenya which is coming soon.

Earlier this year began delivery of Zipline pig semen for use in artificial insemination to facilitate farmers’ access to improved breeds and boost the pig industry.

The service is a partnership with the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).

“In the past, it was difficult to supply the sperm due to the inconvenience of transportation, but now we can supply anyone who needs it within thirty minutes from any corner of the country safely,” Ingabire said.

While the drone flies up to 120 meters, its landing allows it to deliver as expected.

The drone drops the delivery crate about ten meters high and reaches the ground without any damage.

“We don’t just deliver pig semen, we also deliver medicines and vaccines,” he added.

“The drone can carry two kilograms for a single trip, but we can send 28 drones to the same destinations, which means we can meet any customer’s demand here.”

According to Ingabire, for a farmer to place an order, he goes through a veterinarian registered in the Zipline system.

The doctor then takes the delivery box and continues his work in the service of the farmer.

Bernard Banzubaze, a veterinarian from Cyabingo Sector, Gakenke District in Northern Province, said they have been working with Zipline Rwanda for six months and it is paying off.

“We have been working with Zipline for six months to deliver pig semen to our farmers. It improved the reproduction of the pigs,” he said.

According to Banzubaze, prior to the Zipline agreement, a farmer used to collect semen doses from pigs in Kisaro sector in Gicumbi district.

They would board a bus for Gakenke, a trip that takes several hours, which could affect all activity.

“Animals have their heat period. When semen dose is not applied in time, insemination fails. Zipline bailed us out,” Banzubaze said.

“We still have technology issues, when ordering we need a connection, when the connection fails we can’t get the sperm or they can be late. And also, sometimes we have to wait because of zip line overloads because they have a lot of demands,” Banzubaze explained.

He added that they continue to educate their farmers on the use of this artificial insemination and that they hope to improve the agricultural sector in their region by working with Zipline.

According to Zipline’s Ingabire, in the past six months they have delivered over 3,300 doses of pig semen and over 36,000 Rift Valley vaccines to 27 districts.

Meanwhile, Ingabire explained that although drones are unmanned aircraft, they do not operate out of order; rather, they are mined following designed routes.

A launcher allows the takeoff of the drone whose battery can operate for two hours, which is sufficient because on average, its single trip lasts an average of 30 minutes, or just 45 minutes maximum.

Very importantly, the Zipline drone has safety features that allow the aircraft to land safely.

His system is such that important features are paired, allowing him to switch to the second system if challenged in the first.

Zipline Rwanda operates from two drone ports of Muhanga, in the Southern Province and Kayonza in the Eastern Province.

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