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Smart Farming with IoT and Cloud in Malaysia

Image Credits: TechWire Asia, News Article

Smart farming underpins most of modern farming today. From tech like blockchain to measure the food supply chain, to having IoT sensors placed in the ground to test the quality of soil, these technologies have made farming easier for many farmers around the world. In Malaysia, a homegrown agritech platform is combining traditional farming with state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based solutions to provide Malaysian farmers with robust digital tools that aim to revolutionise the agriculture industry.

In line with Malaysia’s continued efforts to expand its digital footprint, the platform, SM4RT TANI, is helping to enable local farmers to increase their efficiency, productivity, and yield with cutting-edge solutions.

In 2019, agriculture in Malaysia contributes 7.1% to the national GDP and employing approximately 11% of the population. Despite this, the Malaysian agriculture sector has been relatively slow in adopting modern technology.

According to a release by the firm, this stems from the perception that modern technologies such as AI and IoT are expensive and aren’t viable for the agriculture industry. The platform is changing this perception by enabling farmers to obtain accurate information and readings about their crops seamlessly and in real-time, thereby maximising efficiency and yield.

By utilising Sigfox’s Zero-G Network supplied by Malaysia’s first licensed IoT provider, Xperanti IoT, as well as other IoT connectivity solutions, the system ensures that farmers have access to real-time pH and weather monitoring, pest control, crop monitoring, and more. The agritech company asserts that crops can be monitored via the use of sensors connected to a central mainframe and viewed via the SATU dashboard.

User-friendly and convenient, the dashboard allows farmers to access alerts, corrections, and reports generated in real-time. Additionally, it is highly customisable and is designed to meet the unique needs of each user, showing specially curated information that is relevant only to their specific use case and crop type.

The platform also works hand-in-hand with its sister company, a homegrown digital farm management system under the parent umbrella. Whilst data from SMART Tani sensors provide crucial environmental data of the farm, Urus Tani helps farmers capture all operational data including inventory, human capital and planning management.

Designed with an intuitive user interface and compliance to agricultural management standards such as MyGAP, the platform complements the platform to form a complete, end-to-end smart farming system for the farmers, the release added.

As an added option, the platform offers farmers enhanced services through the implementation of drone technology in collaboration with the brand’s partner, Aeronerve. Packages include a Soil Monitoring System, Weather Monitoring System, Water Quality Monitoring System, and Digital Farm Management System.

Currently, the company has onboarded 10 farms across 5 states in Malaysia – Johor, Kelantan, Selangor, Kedah, and Negeri Sembilan. Moving forward, the aim is to include even more indispensable features to further improve the working conditions of farmers. They include broiler farm monitoring, greenhouse monitoring, and virtual marketplace to further support the local Malaysian agriculture scene.

ArgiTech and smart farming are major focuses for the Malaysian government. Current key Digital AgTech initiatives by MDEC such as the eLadang programme have successfully benefitted 548 participants as of December 2019. Of this, 78 farmers have utilised digital farming technology leading to a 20% increase in productivity and 30% income increment as well as a reduction in operating cost by 30%.

Three digital labs were also formed to train, certify and drive digital technology adoption in farming. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement in June, MDEC aims to increase collaborations with various district farmers associations to further digitalise and transform the agricultural industry.

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