Saturday, December 5, 2020

‘Agriculture 4.0’ takes root in Southeast Asia


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The agriculture sector in Southeast Asia is being influenced enough by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4ID) for “Agriculture 4.0” to be established in the region, with the Asean Cooperation on Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering (ACABE) and the Asean Universities Consortium on Food and Agro-based Engineering and Technology Education (AUCFA) providing the platform for more technology and knowledge- sharing

Philippine Society of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineers (PSABE) President and Asean Engineer Aldrin Badua said that the country’s agriculture sector can benefit greatly from ACABE and AUCFA, with his organization already providing forums and trainings to help farmers in the Philippines benefit from 4ID trends.

PSABE and the Board of Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering hosted on November 6-8 the joint conference on ACABE and AUCFA at Clark Freeport, Pampanga, with the theme “Referencing, harmonization and strengthening cooperation on education training and extension in support of Asean food security.”

“The conference was a forum to develop platforms among Asean member-countries for harmonizing and strengthening collaboration on agricultural and bio-systems engineering,” said engineer Ariodear Rico, Professional Regulation Board chair for Agriculture and Bio-systems Engineering. Various plenary speakers from different Asean member-countries and local agricultural and bio-systems from all over the country attended the conference.

“The Asean agriculture sector is gradually being influenced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where there is convergence of biological, physical or mechanical and digital technologies, with the Internet of Things [IoT] and artificial intelligence [AI] playing a big role in transforming how things are done,” Badua said.

He said the adoption of digital technologies like GPS and tapping the power of the IoT can further improve farming operations, food processing and marketing.

“Before, it was unthinkable for farmers to tap the power of the social media for information sharing and for students of agriculture and related degrees to study how AI can be applied to farming operations. But years from now,
AI will be widely accepted as a tool to increase crop production along with mechanization,” Badua added.

A resource person during the forum, Siti Khairunniza Bejo, PhD, the head of Malaysia’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, said the Asean agriculture sector will greatly benefit from the application of AI and robotics to achieve higher level of efficiencies and to attract more young people to farming.

“Agriculture 4.0 will help attract more young people to farming,” she added.

Malaysia and Indonesia efforts

For his part, Kudang Boro Seminar, PhD, a professor in Indonesia’s Department of Mechanical and Biosystem Engineering and the Computer Science Department of Bogor Agricultural University, said Agriculture 4.0 will feature the application of various technologies including digitization and AI.

“Indonesia is now becoming aware of precision agriculture and smart farming which can help attract more of the youth to farming,” he said.

Badua added that under AUCFA, there are efforts to harmonize the curriculum for agriculture and related courses among Asean universities and colleges, so the exchange of knowledge can be facilitated. This will also allow licensed agriculturists and agricultural engineers from the region to eventually be recognized professionally in all Asean member-states.

Also, PSABE is cooperating with stage colleges and universities, various government agencies, and the private sector to help Filipino agriculture and bio-systems engineers gain more knowledge and competence through AUCFA and ACABE.

“PSABE helps foster cooperation within AUCFA and ACABE so we can also improve the knowledge and competence of our very own agriculture and biosystems engineers.”

Badua said the efforts under AUCFA and ACABE are very important for the Philippine agriculture sector to also become Agriculture 4.0.



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