Sunday, September 19

Penang launches Malaysia’s first vanilla smart farm

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BUKIT MERTAJAM: Penang has become the state to launch the country’s first vanilla smart farm.

Jubli Rebak Baru Sdn Bhd managing director, Ezra Tan, said the farm, managed by the company’s subsidiary Kairos Agriculture, used agriculture technology 4.0 comprising  internet-of-things technology, artificial intelligence, big data application, as well as machine learning and  drone system.

“A total of 8,000 vanilla trees have been planted on a 0.8 ha land, and the farm also applies automatic watering system which will go into action upon detecting highly hot weather or excessively dry soil.

“Later, we will also use the machine learning system which is a technology that monitors the land and surrounding conditions, which (will) enable the vanilla to grow faster,” he told a press conference after the launching of the farm by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at Permatang Pauh Agropark, here, yesterday.

Chow (left) listens to explanation from Tan at Permatang Pauh Agropark. — Bernama photo

He said the company was also working with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in research on vanilla trees’ growth rate capabilities which were influenced by the weather and the environment.

Tan said through the digital planting method, vanilla yield was estimated to worth RM1.5 million per year.

“We will also export the yield to Japan besides planning to collaborate with industry players to further develop the digital planting mechanisation by using robotic technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the same press conference, Chow said the state government via the Penang Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) had offered 1.61 ha of land to the company to plant vegetables, herbs and spices.

“As we know, the land in the state is very limited. As such, with the limited size of land, we definitely cannot compete with other states (in agriculture).

“Nevertheless, with the use of this technology, it is hoped that it can help agro-entrepreneurs to produce better quality crops and help farmers to generate incomes,” he added. — Bernama