Malaysia launches high-tech…. durians

By GovInsider

Are durians the next IoT venture?

As part of its smart agriculture drive, Malaysia is using tech to ensure the quality of its premium grade durians, the government announced this week.

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) has developed a new platform called MyTrace to track standards of agricultural produce, focusing first on durian exports.

The government-built system uses big data analytics, allowing consumers to check the authenticity, place of origin, packaging date and logistics information, by scanning the barcode on their smartphones.

Data logs are two-way: when users scan the QR code, information on location, browser and phone type are recorded, allowing exporters to monitor their shipments.

Local exporters will be able to use these data to trace customer locations and design better logistic services, explained Ahmad Helmi Abdul Halim, Senior Director of Corporate Market Strategy, MIMOS.

The move is indicative of how Malaysia intends to develop its digital services. The government is prioritising the agricultural sector, investing in “smart villages” and smart-farming technology.

Agriculture is one of four priority areas in the country’s national IOT strategy. The first pilot was in the palm oil industry.

“We are using IoT to detect the right time to pollinate oil palm flowers,” Halim told GovInsider last year. MOSTI worked with MIMOS, the country’s national R&D centre in ICT; the National Institutes of Biotechnology; the Department of Standards; the Department of Agriculture; and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority, on the MyTrace project.

A group of six local durian exporters will subscribe to the service. The tech is expected to boost durian export volumes from the country to China by 20%, as consumers in China can check the authenticity of the premium grade durian by using mobile apps, said Paul Mak, a local durian exporter.