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Bringing big data to farming in Indonesia

CI-Agriculture began its first trial last year on a rice paddy outside of Jakarta on the foot of Mount Gede. (Image source: Don McCollough/Flickr)

Indonesian local start-up Collective Intelligence Agriculture (CI-Agriculture), subsidiary of analytical solutions provider Mediatrac, is bringing digital innovation to farming in the Southeast Asian country

The firm aims to capitalise on big data analytics technology to improve the welfare of farmers and are currently developing three products that can be used in the agricultural sector to improve productivity and efficiency.

According to CI-Agriculture’s agriculture programme manager Hafiz Kalamullah, “We believe the latest technology is able to raise the dignity and welfare of Indonesian farmers to a better level again, as well as urban communities feel the benefits of the technology on all fronts. We hope that farmers in remote areas can go forward by utilising the latest technology.”

CGIAR, as quoted by NPR, predicted in the 2030, there will be a drastic reduction in agricultural production in various regions of the world due to climate change. Smart farming or agriculture-based Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics can be alternative solutions to reduce, even reverse this prediction.

Kalamullah also revealed that the firm is developing agricultural management systems by utilising big data analytics technology is based on the analysis of weather, soil sensor information, as well as satellite imagery and drones that can increase agricultural productivity. The system developed is assembled in three products namely Crop Accurate, Agritrack and Crop Insurance.

“The products work to increase the productivity and efficiency of agriculture via sensor technology, smart farming and the mobile application.”

Crop Accurate

Utilising Crop Accurate sensor systems, drones, and remote sensing, farmers can collect data to be used by the smart farming systems. The system can guide the farmers assisted farming aggregator (target community banks, microfinance, community food producers or independent) so that farming can be more effective.

“The technology adopted is scalable so that sensors that are used to remain efficient for a large area. Periodically, agricultural data will be collected and analysed to predict crop yields and evaluating treatment plants. At each season, smart farming system analyses the data and recommend a better way of farming in the next planting season.”


Agritrack system is an integrated information system for the supply chain of agricultural commodities. The system is designed to bridge the farmers, distributors, and buyers end commodity markets by utilizing a mobile application to enter the state of the real data supply, demand, and problems in the field at any point in the supply lines.

Crop Insurance

Crop Insurance products is similar to that existing in the world of insurance. But, what makes this product to be different is CI-Agriculture basing all calculations and schemes on smart farming technology, sensor systems and analysis of the agricultural potential.

By carrying out the business model of social entrepreneurship, CI-Agriculture has tried to present an integrated farm management application on various platforms such as web and mobile application.

“We hope that the technology developed CI-agriculture can be really beneficial and affect Indonesian farmers. The farmers, the farming community aggregator, manufacturer and distributor of food, the owners of capital (banks and microfinance), researchers and government can work together in a container of this technology, agriculture and the welfare of Indonesian food thoroughly,” Kalamullah added.

Agriculture provides employment to about 41 per cent of Indonesia’s workforce, according to data from the nation’s Central Agency for Statistics (BPS). But the majority of farmers operate on a subsistence level, and farming practices remain low-tech. This inevitably causes Indonesian farmers to fall behind their Southeast Asian peers in terms of productivity and yield. As a result, Indonesia still needs to import rice from countries like Thailand and Vietnam to meet the demand of its large population.

CI-Agriculture takes up a concept known in the agricultural industry as ‘precision farming’ and adapts it to an Indonesian context. Precision farming means using high-end tech such as sensors, aerial imagery, and big data analytics to help farmers make smarter decisions about when, what, and how to farm.

Regina Rivani Andani, agricultural scientist in-charge of developing the CI-Agriculture programme, said that CI-Agriculture began its first trial last year on a rice paddy outside of Jakarta on the foot of Mount Gede.

“For about four months, we planted rice from the beginning to the harvest season,” Andani noted.

“We experimented with drones and weather sensors. During the planting season, we monitored the soil condition, created aerial photographs, and collected data. We also learned about local farming practices, the supply chain, the social dynamics of the people there. From there on the idea grew.”