Smart farming is the way forward, says upcoming agropreneur in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 (Bernama) — While there is a perception many youngsters tend to shy away from agriculture as a means of livelihood, a young and upcoming agropreneur from Malaysia believes that it is not the case anymore, realising the potential of smart farming in addressing global food security crisis. 

Navanith Pillay, an agropreneur based in Selangor, Malaysia, said smart farming which incorporates high tech gadgets and artificial intelligence (AI) in growing crops is gaining momentum among young farmers around the world.

Smart farming saves both time and money with the aid of sensors and self-educating AI that analyses data to maintain an optimal environment for farming and good yield. 

Smart farming techniques is an emerging concept that refers to managing farms using technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, drones and AI to increase the quantity and quality of products while optimising the human labour required by production. 

It reduces waste, improves productivity and enables management of a greater number of resources through remote sensing.            

The deteriorating food security situation resulting from Ukraine-Russia war poses a growing challenge worldwide and to address this problem, young agropreneurs including in Malaysia are slowly adopting smart farming and precision agriculture technology to grow and raise more food for local consumption while reducing environmental impacts and waste from fertilizers and pesticides.           

“The Ukraine-Russia conflict has put many import dependent nations on the edge as food prices have continued to rise in unprecedented manner prompting countries to start thinking out of the box to meet their food needs, with many seeing smart farming being a viable alternative.

“Studies have shown that smart farming practices can improve crop yields and food security in developing countries, where researchers found farmers adopting such practices have increased their yields and become sustainable in the agriculture industry, ” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview.        

Navanith, who operates a 20 acres of MD2 variety of pineapple smart farm in Selangor Fruit Valley, a tropical fruit farm at Rawang, Selangor,  said he is now relying on smart technology to monitor his crops and production.

“I can even manage my crops remotely and in real time without having the hassle of being in the plantation the whole time,” said the Chief Executive Officer of NP Asia Sdn Bhd who appeared in a minor role in Rajnikanth’s movie ‘Kabali’ released in 2016.             

The 36-year-old who also runs a publishing house having government agencies as client, said his smart farm system embraces the Korean technology where most of the work takes place through a smartphone.

“I frequently check my phone to monitor the temperature and humidity of my farm. If there is any problem relating to soil condition, I can detect it through my phone and will take necessary steps to address the issue,” he said, adding the Korean embassy officials in Malaysia had visited his smart farm project and commended his efforts in producing a quality variety of MD2 pineapple.             

The agropreneur who is fondly known as Alex Np among his business circle said he has now diversified his business by venturing into MD2 pineapple juice and coconut milk production by setting up a factory with basic machinery at a place in Rawang.             

“Youngsters in Malaysia need to think out of the box by being their ‘own boss’ and the best way forward is to venture into smart farming business and if one has the will to succeed, they can earn lucrative income up to RM20,000 a month,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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