Metaverse is the newest buzzword not only in the gaming space but has proliferated into other industries. Large organizations are investing crazy amount of money into metaverse to create new applications on top of their current products and services.
One of the potential applications of metaverse is in the agriculture sector. Various technologies have long been employed in the agriculture sector to improve efficiency, reduce cost , increase yield via automation, AI, big data analytics and more.
One area which could see the implementation of Metaverse in agriculture is the use of AR/VR technologies in creating farming simulation for training of the workers. In fact, there is a big farm simulator called Pure Farming developed for PlayStation VR and Sony is investing in it. In addition, farm simulators for mobile phones are being developed.
On the other hand, the use of VR/AR technologies can help farms to save cost and increase yield via virtual crop management tools such as disease and pest control, soil quality survey, fertilizers administration , plants growth monitoring, harvesting and more. To implement the solution. sensors can be installed in the farm which are used to scan the crops. An agronomist needs only to use a VR headset, a tablet or a smartphone to retrieve information about the weather, temperature, plant health, fertilizer needs, and the time for harvesting.
In our case study, we will focus on durian, a tropical fruit that can be found in the Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. According to Wikipedia, durian is named as the “king of fruits”. The durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and thorn-covered rind. Musang King is the most popular durian breed in Malaysia, named by the Chinese as “Mao Shan Wang” (猫山王), is the priciest of all durians. Musang King is known for its bright yellow flesh and is like a more an enhanced version of the D24.
Grafted durian trees usually start to bear fruits around 4 to 6 years after planting ; while seedlings usually take from 7 to 10 years but could be as long as 13 to 21 years, therefore it is a common practice to use vegetative propagation. The cost of planting durian saplings can be calculated from the size of the orchard and cost per sapling. Assuming we have a 200-acre land , cost per sapling is RM30 and the number of trees can be planted per acre is RM60, the initial cost (excluding the overhead cost) is 200x60x30=RM360,000. However, if we include the cost of buying the land, overhead cost like fertilizers, labour cost and more, the total cost would be millions.
Therefore, the orchard owner must look for various sources of funding. Conventional sources include from own pocket, relatives and friends, loan from financial institutions like banks and so forth. However, with the invention of decentralized finance(DeFi), orchard owners could raise fund via DeFi as a new source of funding without the need of intermediaries, it seems like a perfect solution. In addition, blockchain solutions like NFT and Metaverse as well as other advanced technologies could be adopted to better manage the durian orchard and produce better yield. Let us delve deeper into how these advanced technologies can really help the durian industry.
The proposed model is to create a durian metaverse that not only helps to raise funds but to better manage the durian orchard and produce much higher yield than conventional durian orchards. To begin with, we will create an NFT for each sapling which represent the real durian sapling as a digital twin. The NFTs can be created using the popular Ethereum blockchain or other popular layer 1 or layer 2 blockchains such as Polygon, Solana, Cardano and more. Each durian NFT will feature a smart contract that contains data like the ID of the sapling, price, terms and conditions for profit distribution, transferring of ownership, buying and selling, etc. The next step is to create a Metaverse that hosts an NFT marketplace for buying and selling of the durian NFTs. Prices of the NFTs should be much more than the actual saplings because NFT owners will enjoy the future benefits like profit from the sale of durians after harvesting, get to eat the durians for free and more. Besides that, an NFT can also be created for each fruit which can be sold to buyers via prebooking.
Building a Metaverse platform that houses an NFT marketplace, and a virtual orchard will provide an immersive experience for tree owners and visitors to engage in durian NFTs trading. In addition, the virtual orchard will be a digital twin of the real orchard where visitors and owners get to visit the orchard from the comfort of their homes. Besides that, tree owners will be able to monitor the growth of durian trees and check other data such as fertilizers administration, expected flowering and fruition time, expected number of fruits can be harvested during a season and more. Visitors who wish to buy the durians in advance could prebook the durians by purchasing the fruit NFT and use it to redeem the durian fruits after harvesting. Wholesale buyers can prebook the fruits of a whole tree and get special discounts via a special kind of NFT. Moreover, orchard owner can also create virtual tour of the orchard. Users who purchase the NFT ticket for the virtual tour will be entitled to visit the real orchard and savour the durians at no extra cost, maybe even entitled to stay at the homestay at the orchard for a special rate.
The Metaverse durian orchard will have a global reach where investors and buyers are not only from Malaysia but from all over globe, thereby enlarging the durian market immensely. Foreigners will be able to prebook the durians by purchasing the NFTs and get to enjoy the durians when they visit Malaysia in a future date, this is good for promoting tourism in Malaysia. On top of them, investors who wish to purchase the trees and hope to obtain a good return in the future can do so at the comfort of their homes from any part of the world and at any time, just one click away!