It is projected by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that the world will need to produce 70 per cent more food in 2050 as the world population increases.
To production efficiency and also the quality of the produce, the agriculture sector being the main food producer needs to incorporate advanced technologies into smart farming.
In line with the Sarawak’s vision in transforming its digital economy, the State’s agriculture sector is experiencing changes as it is steadily applying smart farming into its agriculture sector.
Under the State’s Department of Agriculture, the digital services include:
- Weed, Insects, Microorganism Collection Sarawak (WIMICS) – a digital system which contains information on crop pest resource and management in Sarawak and it was developed to facilitate self-diagnostic and the control of pest and crop disease problem.
- Sistem Maklumat Bersepadau Institut Pertanian Sarawak (SMBIPS) – a centralized database system developed to enhance the delivery and management system of the Malaysia Agricultural Certificate Program in the Sarawak Agricultural Institute in Semongok
- myPhyto – a digital system developed to enable online application, processing and issuance of phytosanitary certificates
- Agrosoils Soils Information Delivery (ASID) – a digital system developed for a more efficient delivery of soil information to stakeholders for better planning on agriculture development projects through digital maps.
Under the Department of Veterinary Sarawak, the digital services that are offered includes:
- ePermit for the issuance of permits for import/export of livestock and livestock products
- the RFID for swiflet farm for traceability purposes and
- the rabies apps for the efficiency and effectiveness in managing rabies cases.
Under the Sarawak Land Consolidation and rehabilitation Authority, the digital services include:
- Mill Dashboard System
- Estate Dashboard System
- GPS Fleet Management System
- Pilot for Infield Evacuation System (iFES)
- UAV & Geospatial Technology
Around the globe, smart farming is viewed as the solution into both commercial and local farming.
Smart farming can be defined as providing the agricultural industry with the infrastructure by using advanced technology which includes big data, the cloud and the internet of things (IoT) for the purpose of tracking, monitoring, automating and analysing operations.
In traditional farming method, farmers need to be out constantly in the field to monitor the lands as well as the condition of the crops.
However, with larger lands or farms, it will be more challenging for them to do so.
Hence, with the application of technology in agriculture, it ensures efficiency, reduction of resources and cost, automation and data-driven processes.
For instance, sensors and machines can be used for soil scanning and water, light, humidity, weather condition and temperature management, which is especially important for crop monitoring.
Telecommunication technology such as network and GPS can be used for livestock monitoring.
IoT applications help farmers to collect data regarding the location, well-being, and health of their cattle.
For remote monitoring, farmers can monitor multiple fields in various locations around the globe from an internet connection.
This will then allow them to make decisions in real-time and from anywhere.
As data can also be provided in real-time, this also allows automating processes in planting, treatment and harvesting thus reduce resource consumption, human error and overall cost.
The agriculture sector will continue to be one of the main sectors for Sarawak and with the help of technology, this ensures efficiency, sustainability, and scalability in this industry.