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Taiwan Agro-Productivity 4.0 Initiative Integrates Intelligent and Digital Technology into Barn Management
In order to encourage agro-enterprises to invest in R&D actively, the Council of Agriculture (COA) subsidized many enterprises to carry out the commercialization of technology through the AGTECH Project. In 2015, Almin Enterprise Co., Ltd. administered the “Smart Barn Surveillance and Management System Development and Application” project and successfully upgraded the system. The project has already completed the design of monitoring platform software and the development of peripheral hardware devices such as sensors. The system has been installed at the Lunbei Farmers' Association Dayou branch in Yunlin County for automatic management system testing. On Jan. 27, the company organized a demonstration to showcase the result as a milestone for Taiwan's barn management moving towards Agro-Productivity 4.0.
Assist Farmers' Association to set up automated storage management monitoring platform followed by test-run and cloud computing
The COA explained that Almin Enterprise Co., Ltd. adopted the R&D and technology from the National Taiwan University’s Dept. of Bio-Industrial Mechatronics Engineering, and cooperated with Lunbei Farmers' Association to set up automated storage management monitoring platform. Furthermore, a central monitoring center for barn system has also been completed. Users may monitor crop storage status via the internet at any time. The system is able to offer complete automated storage management and monitoring service. It could also carry out automatic refrigeration ventilation to ensure the average temperature difference inside the silo is within the 2℃ margins for error, while the average humidity margin is less than 4%, and overall grain moisture was controlled at less than 2%. The system featuring an abnormal operation warning and real-time report mechanism could send messages to mobile devices such as cellular phones, thus complementing to the optimization of automated barn surveillance and management. In addition, the newly developed monitoring methodology helped bring down crop storage volume error to less than 2%, minimizing the environment sensor cable production cost to 50% lower than the imported products.
The COA stated that after the said automated management system became operational, the grain crops’ good quality can actually be maintained. The system has rendered itself very suitable for barn management sectors to adopt and the test runs have received positive feedbacks from Farmers’ Association officials. Currently, the Farmers' Association provides Almin with the storage volume data of the first-crop-season rice for analysis in order to help optimize and improve system functions to better suit the needs of its users in the future.
The COA also reiterated that through this smart and automated management control model, not only can the system’s operational efficiency be elevated but also the quality of the crop can be improved. It can also carry out system control adjustment in accordance with the current weather condition which helps to elevate crop storage technology, thus benefitting both the warehousing companies and the farmers. It is estimated that the outcome of this AGTECH project in the initial phase could increase Almin’s silo installation and management productivity by NT$12 million each year. Furthermore, with local farmers and public grain storage houses’ gradual transition towards low-temperature silo or normal silo storage method, the projected market demand would be over NT$250 million. In the future, the analytical database and analysis results established through the said system in cloud computing would be provided to public grain management authorities with the objective of improving barn management approach. Moreover, the result of this project can be incorporated later into the “Smart Agricultural Production and Marketing” and “Digital Service” systems which the COA is currently promoting, and become the benchmark for upgrading Taiwan Agro-Productivity 4.0. The objective is to upgrade current installations and systems by introducing intelligent production and smart management, uplift overall production capacity, and lead Taiwan’s agriculture towards a new era of efficiency, efficacy, safety, and minimized risk.
Encourage enterprises to invest in innovative R&D in order to create a new agricultural value chain in Taiwan
COA's AGTECH Project has successfully completed 51 programs from 2007 to the end of 2015. According to the accumulated accomplished results, for every NT dollar the government spends in subsidies, there is an average direct and derivative investment worth of NT$9.25 by the private sector which creates NT $3.82 production value. Therefore, the COA would continue to promote the AGTECH Project to encourage more innovative R&D, and achieve the goal of technology industrialization in order to successfully create a new agricultural value chain in Taiwan.