Digital farming offers a way towards food security, farmer prosperity

January 25, 2023

Saba Javed

Digital farming can help Pakistan address its food security issues, save the hard-earned foreign exchange by lowering food imports, and enhance the income of millions of farmers across the country, said Muzammil Hussain, an officer at the Agriculture Engineering Institute (AEI), Islamabad, while talking to WealthPK.

“Pakistan has a great weather and a fertile soil, but it is unable to produce the required output. The reason for this low output is a lack of specialised agricultural methods. Our farmers can effectively adopt the latest Chinese agricultural technologies to increase crop yield and ensure the nation's food security. The future crop production will benefit from the use of sensors to assist farmers in making rational decisions about their crops,’’ he said.

Muzammil said a Chinese company – Farmland Digital Integrated Management System – was currently assisting Pakistan in the development of digital agriculture.

“This business will not only provide high-quality drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation equipment but also make use of artificial intelligence technology to assist Pakistan's major plantations and small-scale farmers in maximising efficiency and reducing costs. If we introduce the modern farming technology in our agriculture sector, we can predict natural disasters like floods well before time and protect our farmers, crops and land,” he said. 

Thousands of farmers suffered last year due to the devastating floods. According to a report, the long-term losses to the agriculture sector were estimated to be around PKR1.98 trillion (USD 9.24 billion). The AEI officer told WealthPK that Chinese agro-based companies may digitally equip Pakistani farmers in future by transferring the agri drone technology, geo-tagging, data collection through satellite imagery, electric tractors and human resource development.

“Pakistan is an agricultural country and 84% of its land has been classified as arable, so we should focus on digital farming to reduce the production cost and environmental effects in order to increase the farm profitability. Digital technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud computing, and block-chain technology must be adopted to stabilize the agriculture sector in Pakistan,’’ he said.

Muzammil said Pakistan might even learn from Chinese digital greenhouse experience of modern agriculture. For the sake of economic growth from the agriculture sector, Pakistan must work with China for innovations to sustainably help improve the yields and increase the output scale of crops and efficiency of land use, he added.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk