Thursday, 2 December, 2021
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Advanced Technology: Way to Smart Farming

Dr. Md. Rostom Ali and Md. Mushiur Rahman

Advanced Technology: Way to Smart Farming

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The first thing that comes to mind when writing about our country is that Bangladesh is an agricultural country and also it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. In the past 50 years since independence, the population of our country has increased from 7.5 crore to about 16 crore and we depend directly on agriculture to meet the food needs of this enormous population. If we look at the reality, we see a very simple picture - the population is growing, the demand for food grains is increasing, but the amount of agricultural land and human resources in the agricultural sector is decreasing. This agrarian country imported food items sometimes. Naturally, the question arises among us, why do we have to depend on other countries including China, India, Brazil, Indonesia for rice, wheat, oil, and other food items even after our country is an agricultural land? What is the solution?

Several things are needed to be considered to get the solution. One of the things is smart farming. Smart farming is a combination of modern technology with our centuries-old farming methods. This smart farming method will increase crop production in the same land in a short period, as well as maintain food quality. To understand smart farming, we come across some very difficult terms like IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Robotics, etc. Devices around us that are connected to the Internet, such as smart phones, smart watches, various types of sensors, GPS device, etc. through which information can be exchanged using the Internet, we call it IoT. And we can think of AI as a mimic of the human brain. This AI is needed for automatic decision-making using data from IoT devices.

A short narrative can help us to understand smart farming. Farmers have to wait for irrigation water from a rented pump to irrigate their land. The predicted yield cannot be produced if the amount of irrigation in the land is insufficient and not in timely manner. Sometimes the entire crop is destroyed by insects. Apart from that, it is now difficult to find labourers for planting and harvesting paddy in the  land. But things are very different with smart farming. Whenever the supply of water in the soil will be less than a certain level, that information from the sensor is transmitted through the IoT- dependent device to the irrigation pump and the irrigation system can be turned on using AI technology until the land reaches the required water level.

In smart farming, there is no labour crisis for transplant and harvesting paddy after it is mature. Planting paddy with the help of a transplanter saves 50-60% money and also takes much less time. As soon as the crop matures, everything from harvesting to packaging can be done with the ease of a combine harvester. The cost and time savings, in this case, is about 50-60%.

From the above example, we can conclude that smart farming allows growers and farmers to save money, minimise human drudgery and increase productivity, all of which has prompted smart farming all over the world. To increase our agricultural mechanisation, smart farming plays a variety of responsibilities including:

•             Smart farming allows appropriate monitoring and control of all activities. Real-time climate conditions such as temperature, humidity and rainfall are monitored, assisting farmers in making decisions. IoT devices save all acquired data in cloud storage and evaluate it with AI and machine learning, allowing farmers to make quick decisions;

•             Drones are used in smart farming to monitor crop growth, crop quality, flowering period and crop illnesses, among other things, utilising image processing and AI technology.

•             Farmers can use IoT devices to track farm machinery (agri-machinery telematics) and its performance details. In animal ranches, this type of equipment is also utilized to track livestock.

 

Dr. Md. Rostom Ali is a professor of the Department of Farm Power and Machinery and Md. Mushiur Rahman is an undergraduate Student of Faculty of Agricultural Engineering and Technology at Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh.