As Africa’s population continues to grow at a rapid rate, the challenge of feeding the vast population is intensifying with every passing day. According to Worldometer, Africa’s population is more than 1.341 billion with a growth rate of over 2.5% per annum.
This was a fact that entrepreneurs, James Peterson and Benji Meltzer caught up to at an early stage, and so they set out to find a sustainable solution.
What started in 2014 as an experiment at a citrus farm in Cape Town, blossomed into one of Africa’s leading agritech initiatives – Aerobotics. Leveraging drone and artificial intelligence, the company generates in-depth insights for tree and fruit farmers to better manage their resources.
Over the years, Aerobotics has received millions of dollars in funding to scale its platform and empower farmers, investors and insurers across South Africa.
Business Elites Africa caught up with the co-founder, James Peterson on the trajectory of the company and state of agriculture in Africa.
What inspired the launch of Aerobotics?
I grew up on a farm outside of Cape Town, learning firsthand the challenges faced by my family and community of growers. Years later, at the university, I met Benji. Together we decided to see how we could use our combined skills in aeronautics and machine learning to find ways of solving the challenges faced by the agricultural sector.
In the beginning, we brought together a team to assemble our own drones and fly them on my family farm. We were soon able to validate that we could use artificial intelligence to process aerial imagery, and identify problems invisible to the naked eye.
Today, we have flown and generated insights for over one hundred million trees to help growers, investors and insurers improve their production and profitability.
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