IPOH: Felcra Bhd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MATA Aerotech Sdn Bhd for a collaboration on smart agriculture model, which involves drone and robotics technology, at Felcra’s Paddy Centre held in Seberang Perak on Monday.
The MoU which was signed between Felcra CEO Mohd Nazrul Izam Mansor and MATA Aerotech CEO Wan Azrain Adnan, was witnessed by Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Felcra chairman Datuk Mohamad Nageeb Wahab.
In a statement, MATA Aerotech said the three main aspects of the collaboration are utilising drone and robotics technology in Felcra’s plantation management and operations, pioneering research and development (R&D) to increase innovations in the agricultural sector and developing human resource for the drone and robotics technology industry.
Overall, the implementation of the MoU will give Felcra a positive impact. Data analysis provided by the drone technology will help improve plantation management by acquiring the latest information from the plantations.
The use of drone technology will improve crop performance by accurately and quickly mapping plantations as well as assessing crop health and quality. Targeted spraying of fertilisers and pesticides can be done to reduce exposure of pesticides to plantation workers and the environment.
Cost savings will come as a result of more effective management of resources, fertilisers and pesticides, that is aimed at reducing waste and leakages. It will also be achieved by superior labour deployment. The drone technology is able to reduce the current workload, allowing the plantation workforce to be involved in other productive activities.
Also developing highly skilled human resource in drone and robotics technology will help to carry out Felcra’s agenda to build a sustainable model for smart agriculture.
According to Wan Azrain, Felcra’s move towards smart agriculture can attract more agricultural entrepreneurs to follow in its footsteps.
In Taiwan, the use of drone technology in the agriculture sector has provided many positive impacts, including the reduced use of pesticide by up to 25%, decreased labour cost by up to 30% and increased farm yield by up to 10%.
At the same time, it will encourage young Malaysians to venture into the agriculture sector, lowering the country’s dependency on foreign labour.
“The smart agriculture model will change the country’s agriculture landscape. The future is here,” said Wan Azrain.
MATA Aerotech, which specialises in drone and robotics technology, is a joint venture between Nexus Union Sdn Bhd, SWS Capital Bhd and Taiwan-based GEOSAT Aero-space & Technology Inc.
It is a result of the facilitation and matching exercise by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, via the Industrial Development Bureau of Taiwan and the Institute for Information Industry of Taiwan.