Malaysian agriculture industry needs IoT to grow

Sim (2nd right), Ogut (2nd left) and Maxis Enterprise Practices head Claire Featherstone (left) visiting the Maxis IoT Challenge finalists' booths. — SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

Technology using Internet of Things (IoT) will be a key factor to drive a more efficient agriculture industry and attract the next generation to it, says Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry deputy minister Sim Tze Tzin.

He said IoT was critical to transform agriculture, most pressingly the agro-food and industrial commodity sub sectors.

During a panel talk at the Maxis IoT Challenge, Sim highlighted several case studies where IoT was being used by local farms.

One was in poultry farms that had temperature sensors to detect and adjust the environment to an optimal level to make the hens more comfortable and thus lay more eggs.

The second was vertical farming in urban areas, which depended on smart UV lighting to simulate sunlight cycles as well as monitors for humidity and moisture.

Sim said introducing technology solutions to agriculture would also attract the younger generation to join the industry, as it made the industry seem more modern and opened new growth areas.

Last month, the ministry set up two new task forces to look into the matter, namely the Agritechnology Taskforce and Digital Economy in Agriculture Taskforce.

During a press conference at the event, Maxis chief executive officer Gokhan Ogut said that six of the 20 finalists in the Maxis IoT challenge had provided agriculture solutions, the second largest sector after nine participants with smart city solutions.

These were heavy machinery monitoring service Micro Concept, plantation worker productivity trackers NB-Tracker and Smart Track Farmer, compost maker Aquavermiponic Wan-it, mushroom farm solution provider Momoku, and pest detection systems provider DiTack.

He said sensors could now monitor water, soil, and livestock conditions and provide valuable data that was either not previously available or expensive to gather.

“Agriculture requires action at the right time, not too much, not too little. This allows for maximum returns on minimum costs by making educated decisions,” he said.

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