AI & Robotics Ventures: Revolutionizing Lives of Thai Farmers using accessible Technology

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Thailand’s 40 per cent working population is employed in agriculture, yet the contribution to GDP is 10 percent. With the ever-increasing population and high demand in consumption, the agriculture sector is expected to improve its current state and adopt technology to bring about a necessary change in the production capacity. However, the industry is marred by the constant shift in the ecosystem leading to unpredictable crop yields, limited natural resources, high production and labour costs. Technological innovation could be the solution to bring about a sustainable agricultural revolution and create a better standard of living for local farmers. The technological arm of PTTEP (PTT Exploration and Production Public Company) AI and Robotics Venture has come up with Varuna to help Thai farmers increase their productivity and, in turn, lay a strong foundation for Thailand’s agriculture hub for APAC endeavour.

We want to use the technology to help farmers and enterprises become more profitable as well as contribute to the environment in terms of reducing the operation costs, usage of energy, fertilizer or water, leading to a sustainable future

Founded in 2020, Varuna’s mission is to help farmers grow with data, harvest with intelligence. “We strive to create largest open innovative platform in Thailand that is a collaborative effort with government, private sector and farmers,” says Panunya Charoensawadpong, Co-founder and CEO, Varuna. “We want to use the technology to help farmers and enterprises become more profitable as well as contribute to the environment in terms of reducing the operation costs, usage of energy, fertilizer or water, leading to a sustainable future.” The company has revolutionized Thailand’s agriculture and forest sector to create a better standard of living for farmers and job opportunities as an Agriculture Drone Pilot under the ‘Smart Village’ project.

Varuna is one of the pioneers of agricultural technology in AI, ML, Drone Technology, GIS satellite analytics and service platform. Using these technologies, the company can offer 4S solutions to the agricultural sector in Thailand. Under Smart Farming, users can manage their crops with Varuna Platform, monitor plant health, perform yield prediction and soil quality analysis with the help of satellite and drone data processed with advanced ML technology.
Through the Smart Forestry solution, Enterprises can perform green area management by tracking and monitoring changes occurring in the area and calculating the amount of carbon credit. In addition, farmers can avail financial support based on their Crop/Plant Performance using the Smart Credit solution. And finally, farmers can request Agriculture Spraying Drone Pilot via the Service Matching platform.

These solutions are customized based on individual requirements based on the problems faced by Varuna’s customers. The company plans to serve a wide range of partners such as Thailand government agencies, all sizes of agricultural enterprises, and local farmers. Varuna uses multispectral camera drones and geo-informatics satellite technology to gather data about a farm, processed by ML model and users can visualize the report about their farm on the platform. Varuna comes up with a new yield prediction model and crop health monitoring model to help farmers visualize crop health, notify troublesome areas and suggest strategies to tackle those challenges. In this way, the company has been able to help its customers realize the true potential of their farm. One such example is Wang Chan Valley located in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation in Rayong Province. “We built a crop classification model using advanced machine learning algorithms to process land images,” says Charoensawadpong. “This gave the customers the ability to conduct farm area management and natural resource management in order to encourage proper cultivation throughout the area.”

Varuna Partners have realized the importance of agricultural data to gain a significant impact on their fields. There are crop models available for all the major crops of Thailand like rice, sugarcane, corn and cassava. Soon, more vegetable, fruits, and hemp crop models will be added. Varuna is also aiming to extend its operations in the Southeast Asian region, which have similar types of crops like Vietnam and Myanmar. “We aim to be a partner of choice with all global agricultural companies who are experts in the industry to empower them to achieve more and grow sustainably together,” says Charoensawadpong.
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AI & Robotics Ventures

Bangkok, Thailand

Panunya Charoensawadpong, Co-founder and CEO

Varuna is a data-driven Agri-Tech solution provider using Geo-Informatics, Machine Learning and UAV technology

AI & Robotics Ventures
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