SCOTLAND’S green credentials are set to take off timing with the COP28 climate change global summit. The country has emerged as a key commercial partnership target by Europe’s pioneer in agricultural/industrial drone technology.
Hungary’s ABZ Innovation views such a move as integral to its plans to challenge China’s global hegemony in the nascent sector. ABZ’s expertise is already used extensively throughout mainland Europe and lately Ghana.
It lands as Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf arrived at the summit in Dubai with the warning the world is at a “tipping point” requiring radical action to address both climate change and its impact on biodiversity.
The ABZ technology is on course to reverse a UK-wide chronic farm labour shortage along with significantly boosting more sustainable crops productivity.
One target is Stirling, twinned with Budapest township Obuda and celebrating its 21st year as a city, looks a likely centre-of-activity.
One pivotal towards a new generation of industrial drones taking off, far removed from being aerial playthings or used in conflict situations.
The Scottish Government’s “Good Food Nation” policy describes the central Scotland city as a “beacon” and consistent with supporting UN sustainable development goals.
Campaigning group “Nourish Scotland” has identified the Stirling model as market leader in the government’s commitment towards a new countrywide food system.
Businesses and journalists were invited across to Budapest to witness a drone demonstration billed as “The Global Future of Agriculture”.
They heard a recent change-in-rules means UK farmers can now use drones to spray crops, transforming how farms save money, time and resources to produce high quality food.
ABZ is the sole agri-drone company in Europe providing cutting-edge technology enabling farmers to fine tune their work to otherwise unknown crop spraying specifications.
This keeps input and costs significantly down, the latter between 50-to-90 per cent less water and chemicals plus benefiting from a 40 per cent increase in crop coverage and production with pinpoint accuracy.
Karoly Ludvigh, chief executive, commented: “The Stirling model sounds really interesting. I intend to follow it up right away.”
The UK agricultural sector faces significant challenges looking ahead: “Our drone technology offers a practical maintenance-free solution, enhancing efficiency while adhering to the highest environmental standards.”
Global political tensions, supply issues, weather and food shortages are cited as no longer making traditional production methods practical.
ABZ advanced spraying system, coupled with highly-optimised airflow from the propellers, follows extensive prototype development and testing, in partnership with the University of Gyor.
An enhanced power train extends life of drone batteries ensuring lowest possible operating costs and maximum crop protection with significantly fewer pesticides used. Ludvigh added: “It is also very fast.”
Such a drone partnership has extra significance for a country like Scotland where arable production includes significant numbers of cereal crops for both home and overseas markets.
Unfortunately, great rural swathes, including islands communities, suffer from inclement weather coming off the North Sea, making it previously inaccessible or difficult to crop spray.
In Stirling the food sector remains a major employer with 926 agricultural holdings of fairly even-sized distribution across around 155,000 hectares growing mainly wheat, barley and oats.
The city plans such an acceleration in agroecological food production to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2030.
It represents a move aimed at producing more environmentally-friendly food production, initiatives to build skills, develop communities and improve all-round health and wellbeing.
It’s expected the model will be followed elsewhere as word gets around about the new generation of drones landing in Scotland.