For having passed his certification for agricultural drone pilot in China, a Togolese who is passionate about e-business and drone sees broadened horizons.
In September 2019, the early thirties Edeh Dona Etchri, who began drone piloting by himself in his native Togo since late 2017, successfully passed the certification for drone pilot in Quanfeng Aviation Plant Protection Technology Co. Ltd, in Anyang, Henan province.
“Having already some knowledge or skill in the domain, I went to China for experience sharing and I passed the certification for agricultural drone pilot”, he told Xinhua in an exclusive interview in the capital Lomé.
In fact, the Chinese agricultural aviation integrated service provider was, for him, a gateway to active precision agriculture farms, farmers and actors of drone as well as of agriculture production lines.
Edeh Dona Etchri, Managing director of CLIN SARLU and of the Togolese famous e-agribusiness platform, held the opportunity of the arranged visit to Quanfeng Aviation plant to go to the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, as part of Togo-China cooperation, for e-business capacities building.
He acknowledges the travel to China, the first in this life, gave him the opportunity to “discover the real great China of technology and advanced development”.
“This enabled me to have a broaden vision of what I wanted to do in Africa by drawing from the brilliant Chinese experience”, he explained.
“I feel more than galvanized that is why I am now moving at lightning speed”, he told Xinhua, hailing a fruitful short stay in China as he is ambassador of Alibaba in his country and will benefited from two years of assistance of the Chinese e-commerce giant.
As a matter of fact, in September 2019 in China, the certification enabled Edeh Dona to sign, with the management of Quanfeng Aviation plant, an exclusive agreement covering the entire West African for drone plant construction in Togo.
Also, the Chinese counterpart will assist the Togolese partner to establish a training center to popularize in the West African region the use of drone in precision agriculture, pesticide spraying, plant disease detection, end-to-end field data collection and soil fertility analysis and so on.
The self-made man Edeh Dona, from agricultural community in southern-east Togo, learned computer science and programming in online free universities.
He had developed successful applications, created agricultural based e-business platform and had been providing drone services to event promoters.
In 2011, he developed his first application that met real success as applied in the management of major festivals and of the 10th international trade faire of Lomé.
“My innovation enabled to secure tickets during major events at a time when most of event promoters were dispirited by serious fraud problems undermining their investment”, he said.
“I developed other successful applications and, from that, I realized I could do more in agricultural domain as Togo is an essentially agricultural country” he also said.
“In 2014, I felt interested in the agricultural field, realizing that Togo has unexploited agricultural potential and also that farmers are faced with market access issues”, he explained, adding that he developed the same year TogoAgro application which became the now e-agribusiness.
“E-agribusiness is a solution to real agricultural problems, as it enables farmers to get their productions to local, sub-regional and international markets”, Edeh Dona said with enthusiasm, underlining that the application made him travel across the world and received many rewards.
Indeed in 2018, Edeh Dona was elevated Knight of the Order of the Agricultural Merit by the Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé, and was rewarded the price of best advanced innovative solution for the development of Africa as part of the Pitch Agrihack Talent 2018 competition in the sidelines of the 8th Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda.
“Agriculture is now my preferred sector as there are many issues to address”, he said, insisting on his desire to popularize drone using in agriculture in African countries.
As part of his project, Edeh Dona said a partnership is reached with the Togolese Institute of agronomical research (ITRA), a state owned institute, so as to use its experimental fields across the country.
Slated to open in November this year, the training center for agricultural drone piloting and agriculture of precision is welcomed by people from many countries, even from outside West Africa.
“It is good thing having such a Chinese partner, for the reason that it has given another boost to my career”, Edeh Dona Etchri told Xinhua. Enditem