Agricultural Transformation: Taiwan combines human intelligence (HI) and artificial intelligence (AI) to double farmers’ income

Agricultural Transformation: Taiwan combines human intelligence (HI) and artificial intelligence (AI) to double farmers’ income

Taiwan Establishes the Most Advanced Digital Farm in Asia with Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) Technology

Agricultural production is always prone to weather conditions, making the supply-demand imbalance the biggest pain point for farmers over the years. The improvements in agricultural production technology have helped farmers secure yield stability and quality in fruit and vegetable crops. However, the oversupply often causes a sharp fall in the prices of agricultural products, leaving farmers with nowhere to sell and a large number of fruits and vegetables to rot in the fields. In the end, they have to endure major crops and profit losses.

If agricultural crops, especially seasonal fruits, can be harvested steadily throughout the year, the prices of crops are estimated to be 2 to 4 times higher than that in the peak season. This not only is beneficial for exports but also ensures stable domestic market supply and a good balance between production and sales of crops. However, the high technical threshold for agricultural production in winter, coupled with the lack of labor, has led to insufficient agricultural production in the off-season when using traditional agricultural production methods.

While the importance of agriculture to the Taiwanese economy has declined from its heyday, Taiwan still has a reputation as a fruit kingdom. However, Taiwan’s farming areas are limited and scattered, making it difficult to compete with overseas farms with large-scale farming areas in terms of production costs. For this reason, the Taiwanese government has combined Taiwan's advantages in planting technology with the IT industry by introducing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to transform Taiwanese farms into standardized production and a competitive agribusiness in the global market.

Taiwan Establishes the Most Advanced Digital Farm in Asia with Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) Technology

Take dragon fruits as an example, the total dragon fruit farm areas in Taiwan have exceeded over 3,000 hectares. However, Taiwan’s output is far less than that of China and Vietnam. In addition, as the import of dragon fruit has also been increasing year by year, the prices of dragon fruit have been affected significantly in summer to approximately NT$30 (US$1.1) per kg which is not enough to cover the cost.

To solve the issue for dragon fruit farmers, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) of Taiwan, the promoter of smart applications and technologies, has joined forces with Pingtung county government and a Taiwanese communications company U-Sync Internet Service Co. (Taiwan) to establish a smart demo field in Dragon Digital Farm Co., Taiwan's largest dragon fruit farm. Pingtung country is Taiwan’s main dragon fruit production county as it plants 1/4 of the area of the county with dragon fruits.

Establishing a Digital Twin Model with Farming Data to Provide Standardized Farming Guidelines

U-Sync provides low-cost IoT sensors with a built-in SIM card and solar power supply features at a reasonable monthly fee. Farmers can easily adjust the location of the sensors based on the needs of their farms. This allows farmers to monitor the environmental information of the farms in real-time. If there is an abnormal value, a notification will be sent to remind the farmer to deal with it immediately. Thus, Farmers do not need to spend 2 hours on field patrols every night, thereby enhance the efficiency of farm management.

In addition, they also use data to identify the best sowing time in winter, and by integrating with the Taiwanese Agriculture Committee's planting log system to establish a digital twin model of dragon fruit. This allows farmers without any winter sowing experience to follow the instructions given by the digital twin model to grow dragon fruits stably in terms of yield and quality.

AI Controls the Light and Gives Instructions of the Retention or Removal of Flower Buds and Fruit Grading

To ensure the harvest of dragon fruits, a LoRa network sensor and base station are installed in the farms to collect farm data on a daily basis, such as air, soil temperature and humidity, electrical conductivity, and illuminance, etc. In addition, the adoption of AI technology helps farmers calculate supplemental lighting time for dragon fruits during winter in Taiwan. At the same time, it can automatically adjust the light time and control the time interval for dragon fruits to grow buds to help farmers save about 20% of the electricity bill.

AI-Controlled LED Lights at farms to provide supplemental lighting

The supplemental lighting is key to the production season shifting from summer to winter. The daytime sunlight hours are always insufficient after the autumn equinox. Dragon fruits need longer hours of sunshine each day and the adoption of AI can be used to calculate the lighting time of LED lights to ensure that dragon fruits have sufficient sunlight.

 

Agricultural Transformation: Taiwan combines human intelligence (HI) and artificial intelligence (AI) to double farmers’ income

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