2) Smart Agriculture in Chiang Mai: Innovation through Inclusion

Link to Full Policy Proposal: Smart Agriculture in Chiang Mai – Innovation through Inclusion

Link to Presentation Slides: Session 4 – Group 2

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Akihiro Suzuki, Devjit Roy Chowdhury, Liu Yiwen, Christine, Parameswaran Venkatesh

In February 2017, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (under Thailand’s Digital Economy and Society Ministry) announced that USD $1.2 million would be invested in developing Chiang Mai into an innovation-driven Smart City, making it one of the three selected model smart cities in Thailand. The Smart City outlook, i.e. integrating Information and Communications Technology (ICT) with the Internet of Things (IOT), is perceived as critical for secondary cities such as Chiang Mai which have burgeoning urban populations. A key area in Chiang Mai’s Smart City initiative is promoting “smart agriculture”. Eighty percent of Chiang Mai Province’s population are farmers; who are mostly small-scale. Increasing income through the use of ICT has the potential to boost the local economy as well as living standards. Yet, amidst all these initiatives, digital literacy remains a key challenge for Chiang Mai farmers. Advancements in digital technology need to incorporate farmer inclusion, engagement, and agency.

Our project aims to fill this lacunae by proposing a human-centered design to augment our understanding of the needs of farmers. Further, we study an ecosystem of digital tools and methodologies, in addition to behavioral nudges that could contribute to improving the agriculture sector in Chiang Mai. Instead of a top-down approach, we suggest a multi-stakeholder and participatory attitude as it is crucial for community ownership of the process and outcomes. Finally, our proposal emphasizes the SDGs; particularly SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and the need to be localized for a farmer-led digital transformation of agriculture in Chiang Mai.