February 26, 2024

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Smart Farming Gets a Headstart in the Philippines

The DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and the University of Rizal System (URS) have recently sealed a collaboration via a virtual signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to conduct field testing of the Gul.ai System prototype.

Entitled “Gul.ai: AI- and IoT-Assisted Small-scale Plant-growing System”, the project aims to promote agriculture to the country’s youth. The collaboration with URS should provide substantive benefits to the development and enhancement of value-adding features in the Gul.ai System. Specifically, the real environment experience offered by the researchers from URS would increase the chances of success for the iterative development of the nascent project.

 The Gul.AI Project is an enterprising government initiative aimed to boost the agricultural country with a land area of roughly 30 million hectares. Led by DOST-ASTI, the project combines the concept of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and agriculture, especially in the field of crop science. It harnesses the latest ICT technology available in the market today: Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, collectively called AIoT.

In line with the MoA between the DOST-ASTI and the URS, the Gul.ai Project Development Team will deploy the Gul.ai system prototype to URS’ Tanay Campus giving the country a headstart into smart farming.

AIoT is a novel technology but the fusion of AI and IoT is technology at its finest. IoT is helping in prominently capturing a tremendous amount of data from multiple sources. But data alone will not suffice. It must be processed. Wrapping around the multitude of data coming from countless IoT devices can be a daunting arduous process. And that’s where AI comes in: to realise the full potential of IoT devices. The convergence of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT sets the tone for industries, businesses, and economies to function best.  Simply put, AI-enabled IoT creates intelligent machines that simulate smart behaviour and supports decision making with little or no human interference.

A classic example of AIoT is a self-driving car. Combining both technologies allow the autonomous vehicle to process data and react to various circumstances while on the road. With AIoT in place, smart agriculture should be able to solve problems that have been pestering humanity since time immemorial (e.g., insect monitoring). Data-driven strategies allow for better implementation of integrated pest management (IPM).

The Gul.AI system is showing a lot of promise. By deploying plant box components capable of collecting data through onboard sensors, data is collected and parameters not-easily seen before such as water pH level, relative humidity, temperature, luminance, and live imaging of the monitored area recorded in a cinch.

The Philippines is one of the world’s leading exporters of crops. In 2020 alone, its exports of edible fruits and nuts, as well as peels of citrus fruit melons from the Philippines, amounted to approximately USD 2.32 billion.

When successful, the Gul.AI Project should open the country’s export doors wider, bringing in greater wealth to the nation of over 110 million Filipinos. Though the country has had technological advancements in the past, the number of people living below the poverty threshold remains high.

Better things are in the offing though. As reported on OpenGov Asia, foremost technology leaders in the country are expressing their desire for clear-cut programmes in technology and innovation from the country’s next leaders. Assurances that strides made in technology today will continue are sought as the national elections near this May 9. DOST’s Gul.AI Project should be a timely reminder of such timely advances.


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