Agricultural drones in Japan about to take off

KAZUNO, Japan - A drone built for spraying and monitoring growth of crops attracted farmers when it was unveiled at an Akita prefectural seedling swap event, which is continuing through Wednesday in Kazuno.

Toko Tekko Co., a drone manufacturer based in Odate in the prefecture, demonstrated its agricultural drone that can spray five liters of pesticide in one flight.

The drone measures about one meter wide and 45 centimeters tall and sells for between ¥1.5 million (S$17,000) and ¥2 million. About 15 of the model have been sold since it was released this spring.

"More people are thinking seriously about purchasing our drones rather than merely seeing them as a novelty item. We'll keep improving our products to prepare for the revised Civil Aeronautics Law stipulating rules for the flight of drones to be enforced next month," a company employee in charge said.

"It looks more stable than I thought. I like it as I would be able to spray anytime I want to, instead of asking a company to do it," a farmer from Iwate Prefecture said.

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