Helping Malaysian farmers to adopt digital agricultural solutions.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and CIMB Bank Group (CIMB) organised an immersion exercise with digitally-powered farmers based in Kuala Langat in Malaysia. The site visit saw the senior leadership from both companies making time to meet with Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Kuala Langat (PPKKL) and learn how much these technology-driven farmers have achieved from when the programme launched in 2018.
The excursion will enable MDEC and CIMB to better understand the current needs of these farmers and at the same time, share with them the latest technology trends that can boost their ongoing digital journey. This includes assessing the current technology capabilities, understanding the efforts and lengths that these farmers, with the help of MDEC, CIMB and their partners, have undertaken to transform the agriculture industry.
Since the development of agriculture tech and its rollout into selected farms at Kuala Langat, with the support and partnership with PPKKL (via the chilli pilot project that was introduced four years ago), these farmers have managed to improve their yields and quality.
The Digital Agriculture programme played a vital role in helping Malaysian farmers adopt digital agricultural solutions for improved efficiency and increased crop revenue. The programme’s initiatives have seen farmers adopt an Internet of things (IoT)-enabled fertigation system that has helped them reduce monthly fertiliser use by 20 percent, lower monthly manpower requirements by 50 percent and increase the quality of yield (Grade A chilies) by up to 90 percent.
“The purpose of the visit is to see how MDEC is able to further expand the capabilities of farmers by using agriculture tech and other IoT powered solutions. As is, farming is fundamental to Malaysia’s economy and we have introduced various efforts to reach out to farmers to ensure there is growth and transformation. Our efforts echo what the Prime Minister outlined in his PEMERKASA speech yesterday especially under the 11th (Automation and Digitalisation) and 12th (Reducing the Digital Gap) Initiatives and MDEC will continue to strive to make the national agenda and Malaysia 5.0 a roaring success,” said YBhg. Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, Chairman of MDEC.
He added that MDEC will continue to bring innovation and solutions to farmers and is working immediately to address the next steps in elevating agtech in Malaysia and livelihoods of farmers, supporting the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) initiative in leaving no one behind and a shared prosperity for the rakyat.
The excursion showcased the use of digital platforms for fertigation and soil tracking in two farms and how they helped improve crop yield. Surina Shukri, CEO, MDEC, noted how the changes she observed, from pre-COVID 19 and now, are remarkable as more began to embrace agriculture tech at a rapid rate. This shows that the youth are now more open to the idea of going back into this space as they work towards digitally transforming this sector.
“It’s amazing to see how there are so many youths keen to go back into the agriculture sector. Even before COVID-19 hit, there was a growing surge amongst the youth in the tech-powered farming space and we have seen results through their innovative ideas. It’s no longer about being cool as those who are venturing into this space as I sincerely believe that they are doing something positive for this transformative sector,” added Surina Shukri, CEO, MDEC.
“When we launched this programme with MDEC, it was to ensure technology is easily accessible to PPKKL farmers. Four years on, not only have we seen many farmers embracing these new innovations, but we see the youth also joining the industry as they see the opportunities and growth potential that this sector has to offer. It’s clear now that digitalising agriculture means more than just improving operational processes, it is also about expanding the digital capabilities of the ecosystem and updating talent development and workforce skillsets,” said Haji Dr Abdul Razak Kasbollah, Chairman, PPKKL.
With the help of MDEC and its financial partners like CIMB, PPKKL are able to use these next-gen technologies to not just boost their crop yield and management of the growth cycle of their produce, but to also become quick adopters of all-new digital capabilities like digital wallet and banking; progressive device management; and remote management.
For Surina, this is a progressive step forward for Malaysians as they quickly move to embrace living in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and start using these next-gen innovations more frequently. “The use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and services, artificial intelligence, active sensor tracking and automated processes, further refine agriculture tech as a space that offers so much potential for growth and change,” she added.
Knowing how there is so much latent potential in this space, MDEC firmly believes its ongoing efforts will enable it to shift the paradigm for the agriculture sector. After all, farmers and digital talents who want to be in this space are now looking into next-gen technologies to digitalise everything within to boost crop output and amplify cost-savings through the streamlining of operations for farmers.