Smart Farming: How Thailand’s Advancing Technology is Transforming its Agriculture Industry

19 July 2018 Thailand

As the world’s food needs grow, the agriculture industry needs transformation to match the demand. Thailand, one of the world’s biggest agricultural exporters, is under the global spotlight. Experts, economists and businesses are watching to see how Thailand transforms its agricultural landscape to meet this need. 

According to the UN, the world’s population is estimated to increase by 29% to 9.8 billion in 2050. There is, therefore, an immense pressure on the world’s agriculture sector to develop sustainable measures of increasing their output so as to meet the demands of the ever increasing population around the world.

Agriculture has always been one of the core economic activities in Thailand, with over 40% of Thai workers employed in the industry. However, this sector contributes to only 10% of the economy and is on a decline.

Fortunately, Thailand, having been backed by its government, is developing new technology to help transform its agriculture industry. One of these new developments include, precision agriculture. Precision agriculture aims to harness technology to ease industrial operations and maximize yield per square meter. This is done by employing precise watering and fertilizing techniques using information obtained by closely monitoring related variables, such as humidity and mineral levels in the soil.

Precision agriculture helps increase the yield per square meter in different ways. The first of these is precision planting. This involves planting a seed with a particular growth rate on soil whose properties best match the seed genetics of that particular seed. The soil’s properties will enable the seed to develop in the most efficient manner, thereby enabling yield per square meter to be optimized.

Another way in which precision agriculture can increase yield per square meter is by precision fertilization. This is also done through analyzing soil properties to modulate fertilization. The fertilizers used would match the properties of the soil to ensure that the soil is healthy so that the recovery period after the harvest can be kept to a minimum. This allows farmers to resume planting after harvest at quicker rates without having to wait as long as they usually do.

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Precision spraying is a crucial part of precision agriculture. The main aim of precision spraying is to identify highly specific weed-infested areas for emphasis spraying. Given that spraying is highly concentrated, there will be a 60% reduction in the use of chemical pesticides. This not only enables farmers to save on the relatively expensive and harmful pesticides, but since the spraying is kept to a minimum and only used on infested areas, the soil is also kept healthier, allowing for yield per square meter to increase. Data processing systems are also being developed. These systems collect data from drones and satellites which will help farmers customize better production and harvest plans, enabling them to increase their yield per square meter. The use of these technology will also help farmers to monitor their lands in real time and respond to changes in advance. Adverse weather conditions will no longer be a major deterrence when it comes to yield per square meter as the AI will be able to generate algorithms that will predict different weather conditions and allow for farmers to put in protective measures in advance.

AI in agriculture will require a farmer to actively participate for AI to be successful. Thai farmers and their advisors are currently well suited to benefit the most from this emerging technology. AI will be a powerful tool that can help organizations cope with the increasing amount of complexity in modern agriculture. Farmers will benefit not only from the direct on-farm applications of AI, but also from the use of AI in the development of improved seeds, crop protection, and fertility products.

Although it is still in the beginning stages, these ways of using Artificial intelligence technologies predict exciting times ahead for agriculture on its road towards efficiency, sustainability and meeting Thailand’s food needs.