By Azuan Muda
The recently announced 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) promises to intensify the application of modern technology in the agricultural sector.
The use of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytic, drones, robotics and remote sensors may increase the productivity and subsequently income of farmers.
The production would be more sustainable as real-time data and smart farming encourages the utilization of land.
Nevertheless, technology providers and farmers need to work hand-in-hand to ensure the adoption is seamless and affordable. With the 12M in place, it is about time for them to engrain modernization in agriculture.
Agricultural technology and IoT companies are at the forefront to promote modern technology in agriculture.
For example, Favoriot Sdn Bhd’s smart agriculture IoT solutions help farming activities in monitoring processes remotely. Farmers could make a strategic decision based on the environmental quality and make necessary adjustments to increase the quantity and quality of the products.
Another licensed IoT provider, Xperanti IoT, provides farmers data such as the temperature, humidity and even pH value of the soil, to monitor crops on a single dashboard.
Similarly, Singularity Aerotech Asia (SAT.ASIA)’s SM4RT TANI that also a technology service provider specialising in engineering, IoT and big data analytics could take advantage of incentives under the 12MP to expand its service offering in pineapple plantations.
The rise of drone usage and AI, on the other hand, provide farmers with valuable data-driven insights eliminating unfavourable harvest and labour-intensive for all year round.
Leading drone companies like Aerodyne Group and Agritix Sdn Bhd would expect a sudden increase in demand as the deployment of drones on the use of precision agriculture through the use of remote sensing in the plantations.
As such, plantation agencies like Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) could be the biggest beneficiary under the 12MP.
The rehabilitation plan of FELDA is much needed after it went through a massive financial restructuring early this year. The 12MP would boost FELDA to improve its fundamentals by optimizing land using advanced technology and smart farming.
The 12MP also presents a perfect opportunity for higher learning institutions to proactively commercializing their agricultural-related technology.
Universiti Putra Malaysia, for example, to date, has about 2,600 registered Intellectual Property or created across agriculture, livestock and biotechnology categories and only 8% of them being commercialized.
Perhaps, it is a perfect time for higher learning institutions to collaborate with industry players in agriculture too.