Agriculture and plantation are key contributors to many economies in Asia-Pacific, and employ a significant percentage of the population. It is therefore extremely pertinent to implement effective mechanisms and technologies for the sector to thrive and contribute to the economy and livelihoods.
Today's agriculture and plantation sector have transformed into high-tech enterprises that most 20th-century farmers barely recognize. Over the past decade, the ICT, GIS, GPS, Drones, Satellite Imageries, electronic sensors and other new tools have placed farming into a technological wonderland.
The ultimate purpose of all this high-tech gadgetry is optimization, from both an economic and an environmental standpoint. The development of flying robots give rise to the possibility that field-crop scouting, currently done by humans, could be replaced by UAVs with machine vision and hand-like grippers. Accurate and near real-time information can also enable crop insurance companies to develop better products that are more useful to farmers.
The seminar on Precision Farming: Way towards Smarter Agriculture & Plantation, will discuss opportunities and challenges in integrating biotechnology, geospatial technology, ICT, automation/ mechanization and precision analytics into smart farming practice.
Session I: Improving Farming Practices with Automation
The Farmer’s Almanac has been replaced with geospatial analysis and predictive modelling. This is a farming concept that utilizes the whole gamut of geospatial technologies and information to determine field variability for ensuring optimal use of inputs and maximizing outputs from a farm. Modern technologies like UAVs (embedded with innovative sensors), GIS, GNSS, RS and associated technologies enable farmers to visualize their land, crops and management practices in unprecedented ways while empowering community planners, economists and agronomists to research and devise practices towards sustainable production. Some of the application includes farm site evaluation, precision seeding, crop monitoring, precision harvesting, and pest management. The session will discuss the latest tools that are increasing productivity and return on investment to farmers, including successful case studies in the region.
Session II: Maximizing Irrigation Efficiency and Water Conservation
Agriculture and plantation are the primary consumers of water, with irrigated agriculture currently accounting for major percent of water withdrawals. Any solution to the water problem thus requires serious improvements in farming water use, both in terms of irrigation efficiency and rainwater management. Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to farmers due to crop sensitivity, changing climate conditions, as well as its impact on water resources. With the ever-increasing challenge in water scarcity and its conservation, there is a need to adapt to climate change and adopt new tools and techniques, which can help boost productivity. The session will throw light on the adoption of modern technology in practices like soil and water management, high yielding seed, farm mechanization and modern techniques for irrigation in response to more variable weather patterns.