SEMARANG – The study program in Agriculture Department, Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences Diponegoro University (UNDIP) has begun to equip students with knowledge about digital farming that uses Artificial Intelligence in carrying out its activities. On-campus activities are carried out through public lectures by the experts on fields and practitioners who are success in managing modern agricultural business. These activities aim to give comprehension to the students prepare for world of working that mainly uses digital application, such as digital farming. Besides that, preparation is conducted by student exchange program to universities in developed agrarian country, in example are Japan, China, and Taiwan. Agriculture Department of Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences UNDIP has a major network of cooperation, especially with Kanagawa University in Japan and several leading universities in Taiwan such as Asia University and Pingtung National University of Science and Technology. These informations are stated by Head of Agriculture Department, Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences UNDIP, Didik W. Widjajanto, Ph.D., on Saturday (6/3/2021).

According to Didik, knowledge about digital agriculture will be the basis for various conceptions of the provision of biological food in the future. He believes that various concepts such as smart farming, urban farming, and precision farming are all related to digital skills. “Since there is not specific study program yet, the sources of knowledge can be through seminars, public lectures, apprenticeships and studying in campuses abroad,” said Didik Wisnu.

There is no special curriculum regarding digital farming, so that some lecturers have included this understanding through the courses they teach. This needs to be done considering that entering new courses is not as easy as imagined, even though there is a real need. “If it becomes a subject it would be rather complicated to apply because there must be a review of the curriculum, while the existing curriculum changes frequently,” he added.

The principle held for the time being is that students know an overview of the conditions they must face in the future. The overview is closer to industry, and studying in campus which has modern agriculture is an option. The important thing is, said Didik, after graduating they are not surprised to see the reality they would face.

Regarding the benchmark for the digital farming program to campuses in East Asia, apart from the availability of a cooperation network, the consideration is also due to similar climates and food cultures. The countries in Asia in general include East Asia and Southeast Asia, their society both consume rice as a staple food, while the variety of vegetables and fruits are also the same. Even though European, American, and Canadian countries have more advanced agriculture system, the very different climatic factors become one of the obstacles to its application in practice.

Didik Wisnu emphasized that in general, digital farming is divided into two main activities, namely on-farm related to cultivation starting from preparation, planting, management and harvesting; as well as off-farm which includes non-cultivation activities or post-harvest products including packaging, distribution and marketing. In Agriculture Department, Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences UNDIP, the two activities, namely on-farm and off-farm, have been handled separately by each study program even though both lead to become one force in Agriculture Department. On-farm activities are included in Agroecotechnology study program, while off-farm activities  are included in Food Technology and Agribusiness study program. The three study programs have been established in Agriculture Department for 7-9 years. In the current context, off-farm has already used digital tools, so on-farm digitization is a necessity.

Agriculture Department of Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences UNDIP, currently manages 3 undergraduate study programs and one master program. Its undergraduate study programs include Food Technology Study Program, Agroecotechnology Study Program, and Agribusiness Study Program. For Agribusiness Master Program, the focus of the study is tropical agriculture and organic agriculture.

Agriculture Department at Undip was born in 2012 with the issuance of Decree of the Rector of Diponegoro University Number:312/SK/UN7/2012 dated May 30th 2012 concerning the Merger of Department of Animal Production and Department of Animal Nutrition and Food into Department of Animal Husbandry, and the Establishment of Agriculture Department at Faculty of Animal and Agricultural Sciences Undip.