Wavetree and Borneo Eco Star in deal to digitise aquaculture farming

The partnership will focus on 3 main areas that will largely improve aquaculture farming and enable industry players to reap the full benefit of digitalisation 

by ASILA JALIL / Pic by TMR GRAPHIC

TECHNA-X Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Wavetree Technologies Sdn Bhd, and Sabah-based Borneo Eco Star Sdn Bhd (BES) have inked a five-year partnership agreement to digitise aquaculture farming in Malaysia with great focus on making it accessible even to small players. 

Wavetree will deploy its Internet of Things (IoT) technology, software platform, data analytic and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for the digitalisation of data capturing and analysis. 

Techna-X head of technology division and Wavetree CEO Vince Ng (picture) said the partnership will focus on three main areas that will largely improve aquaculture farming and enable industry players to reap the full benefit of digitalisation. 

“We want to work with BES and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to digitisalise subject matter expertise in aquaculture into a Smart Integrated Aquaculture Platform. Once the platform is available, we want to make it accessible to everyone including the small farmers, and the platform will incorporate access to markets so consumers can source seafood from farmers. 

“We also want to create an environment where the technology is well-proven so the government will work with us. The private sector needs to take initiative to prove the technology is meaningful to the industry and thus attract government ministries and agencies to take the next step and collaborate,” he said during the signing ceremony in Seri Kembangan, Selangor yesterday. 

Wavetree will be deploying an aquaculture IoT solution worth an estimated RM2.6 million for BES’s planned 102 ponds at UiTM-BES Innovation and Smart Aquaculture Centre. 

The technology is expected to reduce 25% cost on feeds and 30% energy consumption, while aiming to achieve 20% reduction in manpower, especially in light of the recent labour shortage in the industry. 

Ng added the process would involve some additional hardware and software to be installed at farms. 

“We are working very closely with BES and UiTM to ensure the platform we develop is accessible and economically viable even to smaller farmers. This will benefit the industry and the country as a whole,” he said. 

BES CEO Shim Yen Lin said the platform is poised to spur the adoption of technology-enabled prawn and fish farming in Malaysia and the region, enabling farming operations to maximise efficiency, reduce costs and maximise yields. 

“We believe the Smart Integrated Aquaculture Platform will revolutionise the aquafarming industry and further promote sustainable farming practises,” she said. 

The platform includes automatic environmental monitoring, water quality sensing control, feed optimisation, fish/prawn health monitoring, workforce management, as well as yield prediction. It utilises wireless sensors, mobile apps, cloud-based AI and big data analytics. 

Ng added the companies scouted the entire aquaculture industry in Malaysia and found that prawn and fish farmings represent the highest value subsectors to venture into. 

There are plans to include seaweed as well as other high value marine and aqua related industries into the digitalised platform. 

On the issue of problems faced by farm owners with regards to floods, Ng said the technology is aimed at mitigating the loss faced by farm owners by sensing the changes in water levels and alerting the owners. 

“The unique capability of IoT sensors is to actually continuously monitor certain important things such as your river water level as well as ground water level. With the wireless sensors, once it detects an acute rise in some of this data, it can alert operators as well as technicians to take necessary actions to mitigate loss,” he said. 

Shim added the technology would enable farmers to salvage and harvest what is already available instead of suffering a total loss. 

As the IoT-enabled smart farming solutions become more accessible, this market is estimated to be worth RM147 million in Malaysia in 2021 and is expected to expand to RM313 million by 2026.