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Smart Agri Plant Factory Revolutionising Food Security in Indonesia

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Food security is becoming an increasingly important issue in Indonesia, especially in light of the demographic bonus expected to peak in 2045. Gadjah Mada University (UGM) has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the improvement of food security in the future to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One concrete step in this commitment is the development of the Smart Agri Plant Factory.

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This modern farming concept utilises advanced technology to efficiently produce crops in a controlled environment, including temperature, humidity, and light. The development of the Smart Agri Plant Factory is an innovative step in realising the application of modern, smart, and sustainable agriculture conducted by the Department of Agricultural and Biosystem Engineering (DTPB), Faculty of Agricultural Technology (FTP).

The Smart Agri Plant Factory facility is designed to meet the needs for innovative and adaptive agricultural solutions in Indonesia. It is equipped with various advanced technologies, including soilless technology, such as automation for nutrient delivery, observation of water and air quality, and lighting. Additionally, the facility utilises hydroponics and artificial intelligence to estimate plant growth and optimal harvesting times and diagnose plant health.

With this facility, plant growth can be fully controlled in a controlled environment, allowing agriculture to be conducted indoors and protected from weather variability and external environmental challenges that often disrupt harvests. Dr Andri Prima Nugroho, the research coordinator at Smart Agriculture Research, explained, “This allows agriculture to be conducted indoors, protected from weather variability and external environmental challenges.”

Dr Andri further explained that the development of Smart Agri Plant Factory technology also aims to serve as a research and development platform for the latest agricultural technologies. This technology is used as an alternative to increase crop productivity to ensure sustainable food security, reduce the use of pesticides and water, and minimise the carbon footprint of agricultural activities.

Research conducted by Dr Andri and his team focuses on optimising environmental conditions for various types of plants, growth responses, and plant behaviour. This aims to ensure that the Smart Agri Plant Factory can be tailored to the specific needs of various ecosystems and geographical conditions in Indonesia. Observation technology for plant growth, both non-contact and non-destructive, in both 2D and 3D forms, as well as studies on plant movement behaviour, are used to assess plant conditions during cultivation in a controlled environment.

“By knowing the optimal conditions and plant responses, we hope to implement the setting of various input parameters in agricultural ecosystems more efficiently,” Dr Andri explained. Thus, the development of this technology is expected to significantly contribute to creating more efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable agriculture in Indonesia.

This innovation is designed as a solution to global challenges such as climate change, food security, and the need for efficient land use. Combining advanced technology with the principles of sustainable agriculture, the Smart Agri Plant Factory aims to change the paradigm of food production to be more efficient, environmentally friendly, modern, and sustainable.

“The presence of the Smart Agri Plant Factory is predicted to be one of the triggers for further research efforts in mitigating climate change. In addition, it also becomes a model of a smart and sustainable agro-industrial system that can accommodate local wisdom,” explained the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology UGM, Prof Eni Harmayani, M.Sc.

Meanwhile, the Director of Research at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Prof Dr Marwan Ushada, STP, MAppLife Sc Envisions that the Smart Agri Plant Factory can be a supportive part of the flagship research at UGM. Prof Marwan revealed that five translational and transdisciplinary flagship research projects are being pursued, including food self-sufficiency, climate change, and environmental adaptation.

The Smart Agri Plant Factory was developed through interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Agricultural and Biosystem Engineering, the Energy and Agricultural Machinery Laboratory (EMP), and the Environmental and Agricultural Building Engineering Laboratory (TLBP)—support from industrial partners, the smart climate control system for standardising agricultural company also strengthens the development of this technology.

“The university will provide full support in the development of the Smart Agri Plant Factory as a research and pilot facility,” explained Prof Marwan. With this support, he is optimistic that the Smart Agri Plant Factory will be one of the innovations that will have a significant positive impact on agriculture and food security in Indonesia.


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