Smart Farming, a shortcut to empower farmers


Undeniably, information technology development in Indonesia is increasing; even with the latest products, this technology has entered the marketing system and other governance. This system is considered more efficient and effective than traditional systems, which are complicated and take a lot of time. The complex method and the low certainty of success of conventional systems make digital systems increasingly attractive to different groups. Not only that, in a very dynamic economic activity, always influenced by strategic framework conditions such as the political situation, society, and rapid science and technology, including sophisticated information technology, has led the digital system to play a central role in economic growth to play.


The recent rapid development of economic progress based on digital technology, especially in the trade industry, has taken over the traditional system. This transaction process is performed electronically both by consumers and between multiple businesses using computer systems as the business transaction device. E-commerce is a routine business exchange using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) transmissions, e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, facsimile machines, and Electronic Funds Transfer for online shopping transactions. E-commerce is now growing and evolving worldwide and is a significant part of global economic growth. Business and management consulting firm AT Kearny said the value of global e-commerce sales reached approximately $1 trillion in 2015 or grew 18% compared to 2014. However, the value of e-commerce sales in ASEAN countries was less than 1% of the total retail sector sales.


Farmers and low bargaining power


Unfortunately, the rise of digital technology for transactions in the commerce sector has yet to be matched by the accelerated use of the same technology on the upstream side. In agriculture, farmers generally still use the conventional system. Farmers traditionally carry out various vital transactions, so farmers are not infrequently disadvantaged and become the object of traders with better and broader equipment and networks. Joined farmers are still familiar among some farmers. As a result, most farmers are still in poor condition, live in deprivation, and are left behind and marginalized. On the other hand, modern development continues to erode agricultural land, resulting in farmers’ lives becoming increasingly cornered. At the same time, in the face of fierce industrial progress and the modernization of urban life, farmers do not have the strength to survive.


On the other hand, farmers in Indonesia still have various problems. Classic problems frequently occur, especially concerning seed requirements, cultivation, pest control, and issues related to harvesting and post-harvest. The generally low incomes of the farmers are caused, among other things, by the lack of essential goods. Traders use this situation to provide a range of funds for farmers’ livelihoods, making farmers dependent on the traders, and the prices of farm products can no longer compete in the open market. Still, they must be paid to traders who provide funds provided for subsistence.


Due to the poor availability, access and information received, farmers often need help finding high-quality seeds, so farmer productivity is not encouraging. Another problem is related to pest control because farmers’ knowledge of this technology is still weak, and the choice of pesticides often leads to losses in other parts, so farmers suffer potential crop failures.

Using an inaccurate machine can result in considerable losses in rice harvesting as the grain remaining on the stalk is wasted when the grain is separated from the rice stalk. you can overcome this by using the appropriate simple, efficient machine. Strengthening the capacity of science and technology and innovation for post-harvest players in agricultural commodities is urgently needed to increase the value-added of farm products, which is not only limited to rural product quality but also in competitive price competition and delivery speed den reach the market.


The above limitations are some of the weaknesses farmers have encountered. Reducing the disadvantage mentioned above is inevitable. It requires the attention of various parties, including the government, to find a way out so that you can strengthen farmers, progress, and prosper. Remember, farmers are the spearhead in providing the nine staples this country needs. If you can overcome this weakness, the welfare of the farmers will increase, and it will, of course, narrow the rich-poor gap in Indonesia. Thus, you can significantly reduce the “Gini ratio” index. But how do you mitigate the weaknesses of the farmers above?


“Smart Farming”


Just like e-commerce, smart Farming uses information technology to carry out the implementation process to achieve the set goals. The difference lies in the scope of the activities carried out. “E-Commerce” generally carries out purchase and sale transactions, but in “Smart Farming,” information is displayed through more complex maps and data, especially everything that farmers need when carrying out daily activities to simplify, speed up and aim to improve accuracy and speed up the process. For example, farmers need weather information at all times because they need accurate temperature and weather reports to make decisions about seed selection, cultivation, and pest control.


For seeds, farmers also need information about the full specifications of the source to be grown or the livestock to be kept. The agricultural soil nutrients, which vary by region, require detailed mapping. If this is geospatially possible, it will make it easier for farmers to research crop species selection and fertilization to achieve better and more productive results.


Likewise, about cultivation methods, pest control, harvest, and post-harvest. Using information technology for farmers will make farmers more competitive, independent, and prosperous. However, several variables need to be prepared immediately. In particular, sufficient information technology infrastructure digital-based information transmission towers in inland, remote and inland, and coastal areas must be developed so that all agricultural, fisheries, and livestock areas are covered by information technology.


In addition, farmers need to be educated through applications on their devices about digital technologies, including this “smart farming” system, so that farmers can conduct transactions independently when required. “E-commerce” must be integrated into this system so that market access and farmers’ needs, such as fertilizers, farm equipment, feed, and others, are easily accessible.


When farmers have a digital map of agricultural commodity types, availability of suitable seeds, weather maps, nutrient maps, and an integrated cost-benefit analysis system In one easy-to-read system, farmers can quickly decide about crops that need to be grown effectively and efficiently.

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