5 mins read

Accelerating 4IR Tech for Malaysia's Food Security

March 22, 2024
Wan Mohd Farhan
5 mins read

The agricultural sector is on the brink of a transformative journey into the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). In this technological wave, the adoption of 4IR technologies promises increased food availability, affordability, and greater socio-economic progress. Addressing challenges such as a growing global population and declining arable land, the focus is on leveraging 4IR to revolutionize agronomy, making the sector more efficient, sustainable, and resilient.

Anticipating significant global changes by 2050, the world faces challenges like population growth, urbanization, and threats to arable land, necessitating a resilient agricultural sector. The key lies in adopting 4IR technologies to handle future crises effectively. Examining leading nations in the Global Food Security Index, common trends contributing to their success include recognizing food security as a national security issue, investing in Agri-tech research and development, focusing on small farmers, and building vibrant ecosystems around the agricultural sector.

During the National Conference on Agricultural & Food Mechanisation (NCAFM) 2024, MRANTI’s CEO, Datuk Wira Dr. Rais Hussin highlighted the equalizing power of 4IR, especially in agriculture, technologies like IoT, AI, and Distributed Ledger Technologies drive transformative change. These innovations enable precision farming, automation, and data-driven decision-making, ultimately increasing productivity and reducing resource usage.

He addresses the challenges faced by smallholder farmers, successful digital agritech pilot projects showcase how 4IR technologies enhance the productivity, quality, and income of small farmers. Access to these technologies not only improves agricultural efficiency but also contributes to poverty reduction and rural development.

Advocating for collaboration among governments, development organizations, and the private sector, he emphasizes the need for equitable access to 4IR technologies in agriculture. Beyond technological progression, the transformative impact of 4IR presents an opportunity for holistic societal transformation and progress.

In summary, he explores the profound implications of integrating 4IR technologies into agriculture, showcasing how these advancements can revolutionize the sector, empower small farmers, and contribute to national development.

At the moment, there are various efforts underway done by technology partners together with government agencies to accelerate the adoption of technology that impacts agriculture sector. These are some of the examples that we can highlight:

  1. From Kuala Langat PPK an effort together with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
  • Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan (PPK) Kuala Langat has been using the Internet of Things (IoT) smart farming solutions – a system built for monitoring crop fields with the help of sensors and automating the irrigation system – since October 2021. This IoT smart farming system is promised to provide premium quality produce and improve production yields while reducing operational costs. This advantage further reduces waste, reduce impact on the environment through efficient water use as well as optimized inputs and treatments.

Chilli Farming at PPK Kuala Langat

2. REDtone IOT , a local leader in innovative agricultural technology solutions, introduces Precision Vertical Farming and Aquaculture Monitoring System to revolutionize farming practices. Precision Vertical Farming utilizes automated systems to manage various aspects of farming, from preparing fertilizer mixes to monitoring and managing farm conditions. This advanced technology has resulted in a remarkable increase in yield by up to 50%, while simultaneously reducing pesticide use by almost 50%. By optimizing resource utilization and maintaining optimal growing conditions, farmers can achieve higher productivity and profitability.

MRANTI with RedTone IOT team at RedTone HQ in Puchong

Additionally, Redtone IOT has successfully deployed its Aquaculture Monitoring System in MRANTI ponds. This platform provides real-time monitoring of water conditions, ensuring optimal parameters for aquatic life. By accurately tracking key metrics such as water temperature, pH levels, and oxygen levels, farmers can maintain a healthy environment for their aquatic species, ultimately leading to improved yields and sustainability in aquaculture operations.

With these innovative solutions, Redtone IOT is paving the way for a more efficient, sustainable, and profitable future in agriculture and aquaculture industries.

3. HEXA IoT Sdn Bhd introduces innovative solutions to address key challenges in agriculture with its Traceability Platform and Harvest Support Vehicle.

The Traceability Platform developed by HexaIOT offers a robust system for data collection and tracking, empowering farmers with enhanced data literacy. This platform enables farmers to collect and track crucial information throughout the production process, facilitating access to financing and regulatory approvals. By providing transparent and accurate data, HexaIOT's Traceability Platform helps farmers make informed decisions and streamline operations.

HexaIOT is also pioneering the development of a Harvest Support Vehicle, a semi-autonomous all-terrain vehicle designed to assist farmers during harvest season. This vehicle can independently follow farm workers and carry up to 200kg of weight, significantly reducing the need for manual labor on the farm. By automating labor-intensive tasks, the Harvest Support Vehicle enhances efficiency and productivity, allowing farmers to optimize their resources and focus on other essential activities.

Furthermore, HexaIOT offers IoT solutions such as independent data collection and connected weighing stations. These solutions enable neutral data collection and eliminate the risk of manipulation, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of information gathered. By leveraging IoT technology, HexaIOT empowers farmers with actionable insights and facilitates more efficient and transparent agricultural operations.

Through its innovative solutions, HexaIOT is driving positive change in the agriculture industry, empowering farmers with the tools and technologies they need to thrive in today's competitive market.

4. TM One offers tailor-made innovative smart solutions, supported by comprehensive end-to-end managed services encompassing next-generation connectivity, cloud computing, cybersecurity, data centers, and smart services driven by data-driven applications. With TM One's professional services and technical expertise, the agriculture sector can embark on a smooth and seamless journey towards the future of smart agriculture.

MRANTI with TM One Smart Agriculture team at their COE at MMU, Cyberjaya

Smart Farming is emerging as a crucial technology driving agricultural innovation. It relies on a network of sensors, including those for light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, and crop health, to monitor farm and crop conditions continuously. Through the automation of irrigation and fertigation systems, Smart Farming optimizes resource utilization and boosts productivity. Utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT), devices embedded with sensors can seamlessly connect and communicate online, spanning from pumps and tractors to weather stations and computers. This connectivity empowers farmers to remotely monitor field conditions in real-time from anywhere, offering unparalleled convenience and oversight of agricultural activities.

Showcase of TM ONE Smart Agri Solution

In empowering the national agriculture sectors, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) introduced the Digital AgTech, a pilot programme initiative with collaboration from stakeholders and ecosystems partners focusing on fisheries, livestock and farming. The programme infuses digital technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics (BDA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Drone Technology (DroneTech) to increase productivity and income/revenue, plantation optimization and reduce operational costs. The Digital AgTech aims to boost the national Digital Economy by transforming into High-Skilled and Digitally Empowered agriculture practices.

The utilization of drones is one of the most interesting and successful adoption of 4IR in Food Security initiatives across Malaysia. Under the Malaysian Drone Technology Action Plan 2022-2030 (MDTAP30), led by MRANTI , drone technology is increasingly recognized for its pivotal role in revolutionizing agriculture. In collaboration and support with various government agencies, it is at the forefront of driving awareness, talent development, and regulatory enhancements to propel the adoption of drone technology. Through strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as NK Robotics , Meraque MY , and AERODYNE GROUP , the impact of drones on enhancing agricultural efficiency, crop monitoring, and modernizing farming practices is palpable. This symbiotic relationship between technology and agriculture not only enhances productivity but also fosters job creation, particularly in rural areas, where new opportunities in drone operation are emerging, contributing to a more resilient and sustainable food ecosystem.

Use of drone & robotics in agriculture sector can help improve yield, reduce dependency on foreign labor and optimise the use of pesticides or fertilizers.

As Malaysia navigates towards achieving food security goals, the integration of drone technology stands as a beacon of innovation. Companies like Sime Darby Plantation , Felda Plantation Management Sdn Bhd , and Lembaga Pertubuhan Peladang (LPP) have embraced drone technology to optimize crop management, improve yield prediction, and enhance overall farm operations. These advancements are not only driving economic growth but also empowering local communities by offering high-value job opportunities in drone operation and management.

With ongoing collaborations between governmental agencies, industry partners, and research institutions, the momentum towards harnessing drone technology for agricultural transformation continues to accelerate, promising a future where Malaysia's food security is fortified through technological innovation and strategic partnerships.

MRANTI is now leading the National Food Security adoption using 4IR technologies under the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI). If you are a technology provider and innovator interested in being part of our Food Security Ecosystem initiative, register now at MRANTI Ecosystem .

*For consultations and advisory on Agritech solutions and initiatives, these are some of your local Agritech Specialist that you should get in touch with!

Navin Sinnathamby Redza Imran Jinn An New Razwan Zakaria Ts. Dinie Fadhli

Check out list of Local Tech Companies offering AgTech Solutions at KPKM's Direktani!

Get in touch with MRANTI's AgriTech Team: Mohamad Hazwan Mohd Daut, Ph.D. Ian Ong Nur Izzati Zainudin