Drones deployed over parched farms
Two drones are being sent to fly over provinces that have been affected by the El Nino to assess its impact.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Philippine government have agreed to use unmanned aerial drones to see where farmlands are most at risk from natural disasters and quickly assess the damage.
Each drone can cover up to 600 hectares a day, speeding up the assessment process.
Some 25 FAO and government technical experts have been trained to fly the drones and use their remote aerial assessment methods.
They are ready for deployment across the country.
Each drone is equipped with navigation and photogrammetric equipment that can generate detailed and data rich maps from aerial photographs including Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a formula used for assessing vegetation and plant health.
Data gathered can be used to see where agricultural systems are at particular risk from natural disasters — and identify ways through which such risks can be countered, for example, through ground contouring, building retaining walls, or planting protective vegetation.
The data would be very useful to the Philippines, which is a disaster-prone country.
Jose Luiz Fernandez, FAO Representative in the Philippines, said drone technology can also support the assessment of coastal and forest areas using imagery generated from the flights.