The glaring impact of the pandemic on agricultural production, prices, employment, and food security underscores the importance of modernising the sector to address challenges and ensure sustainability.

According to DOSM, Malaysia’s GDP declined 5.6 percent in 2020 compared to growth of 4.4 percent recorded the year before.

Accounting for 7.4 percent of GDP, the agriculture sector showed signs of slowing down — in some cases, due to declining demand from restaurants under COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and movement control orders.

But a paradigm shift is underway as a growing number of agricultural companies embrace smart technologies in a step towards a more dynamic and advanced industry that’s expected to generate significant economic benefits in terms of employment opportunities and increased revenue.

This didn’t happen overnight.

It’s the result of ongoing efforts by agencies like Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to raise awareness of the benefits of adopting big data and analytics on precision agriculture and farm yields.

Explore ready-to-deploy geo-precision agriculture solutions to support decision-making processes.

Geo-Precision Agriculture

Geospatial technology plays an integral role in modernising farming and precision agriculture (PA) techniques.

Some of the commonly used components include a combination of geolocation, remote sensing, GIS, sensors, drones, mobile applications for land preparations, slope mapping for terrace design, and disease and pest monitoring tools.

Hear more about harvest monitoring solutions and how plantations can balance inputs and outputs to increase profitability.

While the tech and capabilities are relatively new for small agribusinesses, established plantation operators have already embraced the tech as part of a larger digital transformation strategy.

The ability to analyse and extract insights from relevant plantation and agriculture data are crucial in addressing critical agribusiness challenges.

In fact, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) Biology and Sustainability Research Division (BSRD) introduced systems based on GIS technology, including the Oil Palm Resource Information System (OPRIS) – MPOB's go-to system for smart precision agriculture.

OPRIS supports MPOB by mapping the location of Sustainable Palm Oil Clusters (SPOC) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) Certification areas.

It helps researchers identify the soil types, agro-climatic factors, and even potential suitable plantation areas.

Most importantly, it helps monitor incidents of pests and disease infestations – disasters that could spell significant losses in production and revenue.

Discover how to leverage drone technology to conduct aerial surveys, visualisation, and analysis.

Thriving in the “new normal”

COVID-19 has fast-tracked digital transformation in many organisations — becoming more of a necessity than a ‘nice to have’.

Business leaders recognise the need to be alert and agile to adapt to market conditions.

Making decisions on treating pest and disease infestations is simplified and expedited with the use of drone technology to capture real-time images.

The current situation has also accelerated the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML).

Gaining insight into how weather, seasonal sunlight, migratory patterns or animals, birds, insects, fertiliser use, can all be resolved with machine learning to help improve yields and reduce food production costs.

And the good news is, companies that have embraced this way of thinking have proven that they can better adapt to the new challenges of the 'new normal'.

Learn how the geo-precision agriculture solution addresses key business needs and provides actionable insight towards analysing harvest trends.

Brochure: Geo-precision agriculture solution

About the Author

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Firdaus Asri
Industry Consultant Team Manager
Esri Malaysia
As Esri Malaysia's Lead Consultant, Firdaus Asri assists clients with the development of customised solutions to solve their unique issues.

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