GEDONG, Feb 26 — Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) is urged to further their research on padi production in the state using Artificial Intelligence (AI) application.

Speaking at a press conference after officiating “Program Jalinan Kasih Tani Beranyi” at Dewan Kampung Lubok Punggor Gedong here yesterday, Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said technologies especially AI play a significant role in intelligent agriculture.

Citing one of the technologies used by palm oil farmers in Bintulu as an example, he said by using smart devices, padi farmers would not need to work in the fields under the hot scorching sun to harvest their crops.

“For example, palm oil farmers in Bintulu now can harvest the fruits by using remote control.

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“I believe the tractors and machines that we see today will be modified and innovated into a more convenient size to make them lighter and easier to be used and applied with AI.

“It can be done through technology. So I’m asking UPM to go towards that direction,” he said.

Commenting further, Abang Johari said using such advanced technology would enable padi farmers to monitor environmental data and agricultural images for a smart farm.

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He said developing a smart padi monitoring system could also help padi farmers analyse the rice yield while instantaneously improving the rice in a way that reduces costs.

“They can fabricate the machine. After all, it’s just modification by using AI and then they can control via remote control. So it will be convenient for padi farmers to access their padi,” he said, adding that it also offered cost-effectiveness as it would reduce labour cost.

Abang Johari also said that switching from conventional padi planting method to AI-driven farming promised great opportunities, especially in optimising and harnessing farmers’ agricultural land.

According to him, utilising technologies and AI would open up opportunities for padi farmers to generate better income, which could even reach up to RM6,000 per month.

“For example, using hybrid seedlings, which are currently being developed in Lubok Punggor, could yield five harvests within two years, and this would give farmers an additional income of 60 per cent.

“I had been briefed by the UPM on the outcome of the study last month, where I asked them to conduct a study on a new method for planting rice by using modern technology to increase the income of our farmers,” he added.

The Premier believes that the pilot project using technology and innovation applications through the Internet of Things (IoT) in Lubok Punggor would become a model for developing padi in other areas if the research is successful, towards realising Sarawak’s aspiration to become a rice exporter by 2030.

“This is the future of our agriculture and we must have a road map. That is why we want the research on padi production to include the use of the machines.

“Everything can be done by just modification of the machines,” he said. — Borneo Post