16 August, 2022 – The Chaipattana Foundation, dtac, and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC), part of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), have inked the second phase of their co-research initiative into Lingzhi mushroom smart farming,. They will be bringing 5G technology, Internet of things (IoT) and machine learning to the project following initial success in growing Lingzhi mushroom in single digit degrees celsius.
The initiative is conducted at the foundation’s Highland Agriculture Research and Development Project, Fang subdistrict, Chiangmai province, and is aimed at promoting digital and management skills through greenhouse cultivation among Thai farmers, resulting in a better quality of life and sustainable income generation.
Sumet Tantivejkul, secretary-general of the Chaipattana Foundation, says “This collaboration of the Chaipattana Foundation, dtac, and the NECTEC marks the continuity of our co-research that goes back to our first experiment in the winter of 2019. All of us contributed to a successful experiment and development of devices that controlled the mushroom’s greenhouse environment. Thanks to our efforts, the controlled environment came significantly close to the real environment that best supports growing Lingzhi mushrooms. Now, we have embarked on this new collaboration to support continued academic and manufacturing-technology development, leading to technology disruption in order for farmers to be able to adapt to emergening smart farming developments. Technologies and digital solutions will play a role in greenhouse management in the future, empowering digital-age farmers who will then enjoy a better quality of life as well as greater economic, social, and environmental benefits in a way that also supports sustainable development”.
Boonchai Bencharongkul, chair of the board of directors at dtac, says “dtac is ready to fully support the Chaipattana Foundation on a continued basis for the goal of empowering farmer groups with technologies paving the way for not just their wellbeing but also Thailand’s overall prosperity. The fulfillment of such goals will mark the ‘true victory of development’. Our collaboration now enters its fourth year with 5G technology used for the in-depth research on Lingzhi mushroom growth and off-season cultivation. To date, our collaboration has already led to the successful cultivation of Lingzhi mushrooms during the winter when temperatures are lower than 10 degrees Celsius. dtac and the NECTEC have brought to the collaboration IoT technology and sensing devices, cameras, and various measuring instruments. Our project has found that Lingzhi mushrooms are sensitive to their environment, thus further collaboration will involve technology and experts on machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud systems. Our co-research will become even more efficient with data compiled and analysed real-time, enabling the identification of accurate parameters, boosting Lingzhi-mushroom farms’ productivity both in and off-season cultivation as farmers gain more digital skills.
Chai Wutiwiwatchai, executive director of the NECTEC, says “The second phase of our co-research marks a milestone in the country’s research and development in agriculture for the future, creating an ecosystem that facilitates the use of agritech, which can apply at local levels, and sets examples for various fields of agriculture with the goals of adding value, creating jobs, and generating sustainable income. We have recruited the help of the National Biobank of Thailand – which is also under NTSDA – for our co-research that aims to identify proper environmental factors that could benefit Lingzhi mushroom growth. We have already simulated the desirable environment by integrating data from sensors and relevant images. AI technologies are deployed for analysis and experiment planning. In addition, we have explored manufacturing formulas to find the one that best suits winter and requires the lowest electricity expenses, which will be applied to large Lingzhi mushroom greenhouses in the future”.
The phase 2 of the initiative is an important mission, which originated from the results of our field trip involving the study and research at the project site on May 1, 2019 during Phase 1. Now, Phase 2, the next chapter of our collaboration has taken off. Phase 2 will run for three years but the collaboration looks set to continue further in pursuit of our main goal of enabling farmers to embrace the benefits of the digital economy with good quality of life, which will in turn strengthen Thailand’s overall prosperity.