November has arrived, yet a field of chrysanthemum on the campus of NPUST is in full bloom, in complete contrast with the typical images that come to mind when one thinks of autumn. Instead, bright petals shimmer under the warm sunlight and butterflies softly flutter among the flowers in a dance that sings of vitality. The field, left fallow for now, is part of the “smart agriculture” initiative currently under development at the university. Once the cycle is completed, the chrysanthemum flowers that cove the field will have decomposed, providing nutrients to the soil and increasing its fertility. With both practical and aesthetic features, these flowers have become quite the attraction; and whether it is students hoping to get nice graduation photo or photography hobbyists looking for the next shot –it’s currently among the most popular sites on campus.As a leader in smart agriculture, NPUST has moved forward from the traditional way of thinking and is incorporating such technology as smart interactive devices into its curricular design. A five hectare site has been marked of for a smart farm which will be based on technological agriculture and incorporate high-tech mechanization to substitute for labor. Big data and the internet will be used to manage marketing and traceability, as well as to synchronize with culture and leisure industries. The initiative also incorporates concepts of sustainable operations that make use of natural biocontrol methods. Thus students are able to learn valuable technical skills while also keeping up with environmentally ethical approaches. Through practical learning – from production and processing to marketing, management, tourism and recreation – students can learn by doing, and without being limited to a single area of study.Plans for the smart farm not only include a management center, rice-growing area, a “happy farm”, an agricultural waste regenerative treatment site, and a fruit tree cultivation/lychee reserve area. There will also be a coco production area, a short term crop rotation area, a smart greenhouse, a strawberry cultivation area, and a green recreation area. On top of it will included a fish and vegetable symbiotic cultivation site for Council of Agriculture publicly funded students (Department of Food Science), a handmade chocolate workshop and other facilities. Thus, as NPUST continues to push industry chains to what has become known as “level six”, it will build even higher on its foundation of teaching while extending further on local agricultural development and industry-academic cooperation.
A Sea of Chrysanthemum Marks the Warming up of Smart Agriculture