Seeding Agritech in Malaysia: Alibaba Cloud Powers Malaysian Smart Farming

This year's Boao Forum will focus on cooperation among Asian economies on various fronts. A Malaysian smart farming services provider is collaborating with China's Alibaba Cloud to improve crop yields for the country's durian farmers, using the internet of things and big data analytics to boost productivity and even the quality of the durian, among other crops. Rian Maelzer reports. 

From the air, it looks like a regular durian farm. But a number of features set it apart, like this highly automated hub for combining fertilizer application and irrigation, and these metal boxes dotted among the trees. Malaysia's Regaltech specialises in smart farming solutions, powered by Alibaba Cloud.

TAN HAN WEI Regaltech "We are here to actually to help the farmers try to increase their yield and have a better quality of yield, using soil sensors to measure the soil moisture, soil nutrients, even Ph and temperature as well. The ground sensor itself using the Internet of Things, actually transmit wirelessly to the Alibaba Cloud. Alibaba Cloud have a ready infrastructure from the IoT to the big data. From the analytics, we do a lot of comparison. Different locations they will need different amounts of nutrients and moisture. From the nutrient concentrations, we actually know the amount of fertilizers to irrigate to a dedicated zone."

The farmers can easily control the combined fertilization and irrigation system via laptop or mobile phone. Sam Leong says when he first told other durian farmers he was going to invest in this technology, they laughed at him. Not any more.

SAM LEONG Malaysian Durian Farmer "It is easy to control the fertilizer and irrigation application, reduces my manpower and costs. My productivity increases, the fruit is more uniform, symmetrical in shape and size. I've seen a 30 per cent increase in my yield."

RIAN MAELZER Kuala Lumpur "Alibaba has a major presence in Malaysia. Its Southeast Asian offshoot Lazada has its regional e-logistics hub here. And Malaysia was the first outpost outside of China for Alibaba's Electronic Free Trade Platform."

Alibaba Cloud, meanwhile, is helping government and private sector here to boost their efficiency, whether that be controlling rush-hour traffic or creating more bountiful and tasty fruit. Rian Maelzer, CGTN, Pahang, Malaysia. 

13 Jan 2023

Smart farming is the key to a sustainable future.