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Smart Farming Tech for Herbal Tea Materials

Guava Farm

A new dehydrator machine for herbal tea was launched at Ephrathah Farms in Iloilo City, Philippines.

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARD) funded the development of the smart farming technology for herbal tea materials called, “Design and development of a programmable dehydrator machine for herbal tea materials.”

About the Initiative

According to a recent report, the machine could dry fresh leaves of guava, moringa, guyabano, and roselle flower petals from the usual 0.5 kilograms a day to 5 kg/day at a lower energy cost.

It uses solar energy and a back-up electric heater to function.

The machine has the potential for dehydrating other crops and fishery products. Its introduction to the public is expected to raise production capacity and product quality of tea materials in the region.

The project was led by Associate Professor Renerio Mucas from the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT U).

The project team was able to complete the phytochemical screening of the herbal tea raw materials and products through the DOST-PCAARD-funded project.

Optimisation of the drying protocol as well as analysis of the shelf life of the processed tea was made possible.

According to the University President Raul Muyong, innovation is one of the major thrusts of the university.

The dehydrator machine is another milestone that will put the university at par with the leading colleges in the region.

The General Manager of the Farms commended both the University and the Department for improving and making their tea production more efficient.

This paved the way for making their tea products more competitive in both the local and international markets.

More research undertakings, particularly on smart farming technologies, should be done in the future.

The launch gathered more than 80 participants composed of students, researchers, university officers, fabricators, and local media outfits from Iloilo.

The University has already filed the patent for this machine at the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

Smart Farming Initiatives from Neighbouring Countries

Agricultural countries are starting to recognise the significance of smart farming technologies. OpenGov Asia had previously reported on such initiatives.

Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University, for instance, made a breakthrough in agriculture with the development of a smart farming device that is capable of calculating greenhouse gas emissions on agricultural land.

The researcher explained that the agriculture sector is one of the contributors to greenhouse gases, supplying around 24%, with the rate potentially increasing from year to year.

With these conditions, the researcher thought of calculating real-time data from sensors. These data include climate, soil parameters, and plant growth.

The data can be used to evaluate irrigation systems and calculate concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions. The data gathered is processed with an artificial neural network model (ANN).

It is also equipped with an Em50 data logger for data storage. Telemetry is used to send the data from the data logger to the automatic server every day. It uses a modem from a telecommunications provider in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is developing a Smart Farming project with South Korea.

The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) announced that it is collaborating with a consortium consisting of Malaysian and South Korean companies.

Together, they will bring an integrated large-scale livestock farming and renewable energy (RE) generation project to Sabah, which could generate an investment of up to RM8.34 billion over the next five years.

The project will create a new concept of smart farming in which the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary industries, including livestock farming business and industrial complex, manufacturing and service industries, grow.

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