In an effort to decrease reliance on food imports and to achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural products, the Omani government decided to venture into smart farming by collaborating with Nongshim, a South Korean food and beverage company.
Nongshim said on Wednesday it has won a bid to export a smart farm system to Oman, marking the first sale since it formed a dedicated in-house startup for the business in 2018.
The Omani government will buy two units of container-type vertical smart farm worth $200,000 made by Nongshim. The 40-foot-long boxes will provide a total of 165-square-metres in cultivation area.
Nongshim said its smart farm export is meaningful in that it has become the first partner of Oman’s state smart farm initiative.
The smart farm enables crop cultivation up to 18 times a year. Cultivation is possible immediately if only electricity and water are connected locally.
With its deal with Oman, Nongshim aims to export smart farm technology to other Middle East countries.
“The Middle East is mostly desert, so farming is almost impossible,” an unnamed Nongshim official said in a statement on Wednesday.
“As most countries there rely on imported food, their interest in smart farms has been increasing, so there is a very high possibility of market growth.”
Earlier this month, a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Wealth & Water Resources and Oman Agricultural Society visited the POMIT Company in South Korea, which was contracted to implement a development research project to introduce and evaluate smart farm technologies.
Funded by Omani Indian Fertiliser Company (Omifco), smart farm technologies use hydroponic system for the production of leafy vegetables.
All environmental conditions, including carbon dioxide, light, and nutrients, as well as temperature and humidity, are automatically controlled.
sers can monitor and control Nongshim’s smart farm anytime, anywhere with a smartphone. Nongshim has developed most of the materials and software such as cultivation facilities, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and an environmental control system used in smart farms.
A smart farm is an automated indoor farm created by combining information and communication technology with agriculture. Because smart farms can automatically analyse temperature, humidity and the amount of sunlight using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, farmers can grow plants without having to worry about weather conditions.
Smart farming increases the quantity and quality of products while optimising the human labour required by production.