1-1) Course Description
The challenges of limited land available for food production, growing scarcity of irrigation water supply, precarious weather and changing climatic patterns, and a need to restrict chemical use are paving the way for more controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) production systems to produce a safe, abundant food supply in an efficient, sustainable manner. With such systems, producers are able to manipulate the crop environment to the desired conditions using precise technologies and equipment to improve the efficiency of operations as well as the consistency of products. This has already started with simple CEA systems, but the more advanced systems now available offer greater power and precision.
The most advanced CEA systems have the advantage of high levels of certainty in meeting contractual commitments for the delivery of produce because cropping intensity and production
cycles are programmed to meet market requirements in terms of volume, timeliness, and quality. Production is tailored to consumer specifications from the very beginning. Such production systems also reduce the risks of diseases and pest infestations and the corollary labor required to address such problems in conventional agriculture. They also address the aging of farmers, which has resulted in a scarcity of farm labor. With such CEA production systems, artificial intelligence is taking over many of the tedious tasks formerly performed by farm workers.
The more popular CEA systems like greenhouses and hydroponics-based technologies have been widely adopted in many advanced countries in Europe, North America, and Asia, notably Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Republic of China, to produce various horticultural crops. Some investments in such systems have also been made in periurban areas in Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The systems are seen as having great potential for agribusiness investment and for increasing agricultural productivity and food production, even with declining areas of prime agricultural land and obvious impact of climate change on agriculture
1-2) Course Objectives
To provide basic knowledge of the concepts and principles of CEA, as well as the basic skills, tools, techniques, and technologies of CEA production systems.
Scope of the Course
The tentative course structure is:
Module 1: Introduction to CEA (e.g., definition and key concepts; socioeconomic and environmental importance; global trends; types of CEA; and issues, challenges, and opportunities)
Module 2: Growing systems and the crops they support
Module 3: Crop maintenance (e.g., crop layout, plant lighting, pollination)
Quiz 1 (for self-assessment based on questions from Modules 1, 2, and 3)
Module 4: Irrigation systems
Module 5: Plant nutrition
Module 6: Insect pests and diseases and their management
Quiz 2 (for self-assessment based on questions from Modules 4, 5, and 6)
Module 7: Greenhouse structure and design (including different types of environmental
control systems, their construction, and maintenance and operational costs)
Module 8: Environmental control and energy conservation
Module 9: Food quality and safety (e.g., GAP, GHP)
Module 10: Marketing ofCEA produce
Quiz 3 (for self-assessment based on questions from Modules 7, 8, 9, and 10)Final Examination