Malaysia’s first 5G vertical farm has started, opening the door for more tech-savvy ventures in agriculture.

AGRIC TECH erwan hesryThe day when all arable land runs out and soil scientists cry out “I told you so!” may not be as ominous as previously thought.

Why do we say that?

Well, for one thing as in virtually most areas of human endeavour, technology has arrived to pitch in. Agriculture, often so tenderly tied in with nature has been like a helpless and bruised child, suffering the most from climate change, pollution, declining water resources, overgrowing and a multitude of issues.

Will technology in the form of AI, ioT, 5G and robotics save us from starving one day?

Not yet. But the signs are indicating that the wave to revolutionize farming has already begun like never before. Even here in Malaysia.

As reported in the press, Boomgrow operates mainly from a repurposed shipping container in Ampang.

According to the report, the vegetables are grown under artificial lights with ioT sensors monitoring everything from leaf discoloration to nitrate content. The production is aided by AI and machine learning processes as well.

Indeed it remains as the country’s first 5G-supported vertical farm. The start-up has succeeded in reproducing ideal conditions of heat and humidity and can monitor growth in real-time. What would have been a pipe-dream earlier has now become a viable business enterprise with a production rate of 50,000 kg of vegetables a year.

Across the globe, agri tech continues to grow. Greenhouse farms using metal reflectors harness natural sunlight in a controlled environment. The absence of soil becomes apparent as plants are grown in robotic tables with constant monitoring.

There are many benefits to this revolution of sorts. For one it uses less water in less space, reduces harvest time from a probable six weeks to 28 days without pest or soil issues. Indoor farming is being carried out in old farmhouses, containers and even on hotel roofs. The advent of hydroponics involves the co-existence of plants and fishes in connected harmony. Robotics is increasingly being used to support farming in viable terms now.

In outdoor farming the buzz of drones can be heard distinctively, when it will become the new beast of burden begs a question.

Yes, we’d better believe it – necessity is indeed the mother of invention. We can with some certainty expect more innovations in agriculture as we speak.

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