Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO) and the Japanese Government are jointly supporting
precision agriculture in Mongolia through the introduction of agricultural

On December 20, the “Supplying of agricultural drones in Darkhan-Uul,
Selenge and Central aimags” project has been signed by the Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia H. Kobayashi and the
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mongolia’s Farmers’ Association for Rural
Development (MFARD) G.Davaadorj. The signing ceremony was attended by Vinod
Ahuja, FAO Representative in Mongolia and T.Jambaltseren, State Secretary of
the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industries (MOFALI). On the
occasion, Mr. Ahuja expressed his delight on the initiation of this project and
said “Drones have a huge potential in agriculture in supporting evidence-based
planning and in spatial data collection. I thank the Government of Japan in
supporting this project and hope this collaboration will further strengthen
policies and decisions in support of Mongolia’s food security and sustainable

Four sets of drones from Ishikawa
Energy Research LLC are supplied by the Japanese Government’s Grant Assistance
for Cultural Grassroots Projects. FAO will train the human resources with the
capacities to pilot drones and interpret data by bringing in international
experts. As a UN technical agency, FAO has extensive expertise in development
of precision agriculture worldwide. The MOFALI is the policy coordinator of the
introduction of this technological solution in the agriculture sector. MFARD
boasts a membership of 2000 vegetable producers, which will be potential beneficiaries
of the project.

FAO estimates that annually
between 20 to 40 percent of global crop production are lost to pests. In Mongolia, 2.6-10.7% of cereal production, 13-30% of potato and vegetable
production, and 19-40% of rangeland production are lost to pests, which is a
serious burden for
country that is still heavily dependent on imports for meeting national demand.

The most common practice for
application of plant protection products is characterized by universal spraying
of fields with little regard given to whether the whole area or just a patch of
land is actually affected by pests. Irrational or excessive use of plant
protection products seriously undermines the prospective of entire cropping
system, detrimental to both farmers’ income and environmental health.

Pest surveillance and crop monitoring are extremely labor intensive and
time consuming operations without the use of innovative technologies.
The use of drone is key to more timely and more accurate
identification of pest-affected areas. It facilitates immediate spot treatment and
avoids unnecessary use of plant protection products. The major consequences of
minimal, yet reasonable use of chemicals would include reduced operational and
input costs and averted growth retardation of all crops on the field by the
effects of plant protection products, both translating into income for producers
and reduced impact on the environment. It will also enable farmers to take
preventive, non-toxic measures against pests.

Therefore, the project to supply
drones is crucial in developing precision agriculture in 3,500 hectares land of
selected soums in Darkhan-Uul, Selenge and Tuv aimags to improve production,
soil and pests management, including rapid response capacity to pest
emergencies through intensive monitoring of crops and pest surveillance with
the help of drone technology.