• Aerial farming

    Aerial farming

    A major South African bank is investing millions in a drone company that specialises in agricultural data analytics.

    According to a Moneyweb report, Nedbank’s venture capital fund is putting ZAR100 million into Cape Town-based Aerobotics. Stuart van der Veen, head of disruption and innovation at Nedbank corporate and investment banking, says: ‘The decision to invest in the company stems from the banking unit’s focus on agri-finance – a market that is under-represented and [in which we] aim to win more businesses.’

    By using satellites and drones to capture multispectral images to help farmers optimise yield and manage costs, Aerobotics processes the aerial data through an in-house analytics programme that uses machine learning to assess crop health and control of pests and disease.

    Gathering data on the farm of a commercial client, the bank is using the technology on a trial basis to develop agri-finance products.

    17 July 2018
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images