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Thailand’s Smart Farming Initiatives

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As the largest exporter in the global rice market, Thailand employs approximately 60% of its workforce in the agricultural sector, with rice being the most crucial food commodity, particularly in the ASEAN region.

Image credits: mdes.go.th

Recognising the potential of technological advancements, the Thai government sees an opportunity to transform the agricultural landscape into smart farming. This commitment aligns with the experiences of countries like the United States, Israel, and Australia, which have successfully integrated robotic technology into their agricultural practices.

While technological innovations in agriculture have peaked in some countries, Thailand is still in the early stages of implementing this technology in its agricultural sector. The potential to update and improve agricultural performance through technological innovation remains substantial.

Applying technology in agriculture can increase production yields and reduce environmental impact through more efficient resource utilisation. Using sensors, robotics, and intelligent systems can provide more accurate monitoring of soil conditions, crops, and pests, enabling farmers to make more timely and efficient decisions.

Furthermore, through the use and utilisation of technology, Thailand can address the ongoing challenges of climate change while enhancing its agricultural sector’s efficiency, productivity, and resilience. In this context, food security becomes crucial and must be addressed quickly.

In a recent initiative, Mr Prasert Chandraruangthong, the Minister of Digital Economy and Society, has presided over the 1 Tambon 1 Digital Project (Drone Jai Community). This project aims to develop knowledge and skills related to applying and maintaining agricultural drones for communities and farmers nationwide.

The project envisions transforming traditional businesses into service centres for drone maintenance, spraying, and sales for agriculture. Within a year, it aims to establish 50 service centres nationwide, promoting the application of agricultural drones in 500 communities, creating an economic value of at least 350 million baht.

The opening ceremony of this project involved Assistant Prof Dr Nattaphon Nimmanphatcharin, Director General of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), and executives from various agencies. This initiative focuses on fostering a comprehensive understanding of the use and upkeep of agricultural drones, providing a platform for communities and farmers to benefit from digital technology.

The strategic goal is to encourage a shift toward digitalisation in traditional businesses, promoting the adoption of cutting-edge technology in agriculture. The 1 Tambon 1 Digital Project serves as a cornerstone for realising this vision, emphasising the importance of enhancing digital capabilities to create a competitive advantage for the country.

Minister Prasert emphasised the readiness of the Ministry of Digital Economy to drive the digital economy and society, mainly through initiatives like the 1 Tambon 1 Digital Project. The project aligns to enhance digital capabilities to create a competitive advantage for the country in response to the evolving digital economy era.

Farmers communities and the general public are invited to participate in training programmes on piloting unmanned aircraft and developing maintenance skills for agricultural drones. These activities aim to raise awareness and stimulate the application of drone technology for agriculture in five regions, including drone flying and maintenance competitions.

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