Innovations That Inspire

EDAAS for Community

Recognition Year(s): 2024
School: Universiti Utara Malaysia
Location: Malaysia

The project promotes environmentally friendly food production for the benefit of the community and the nation of Malaysia.

Call to Action

During the pre-pandemic time of 2020, a team of researchers from the College of Business at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) embarked on a project titled “Ezee DIY Aquaponic Design©,” which later evolved into the Ezee DIY Aquaponic Automation System (EDAAS). The system’s primary goals were to facilitate community production of locally sourced food and to diminish reliance on food imports.

The significance of this endeavor became evident with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the EDAAS effectively boosted food security by increasing production. Because of its sustainable methods, the EDAAS has the capacity to enhance the availability of nutritious food in both current and future food systems. It involves cutting-edge technology that offers an environmentally friendly approach to acquiring both fresh fish and organically grown vegetables.

Through the engineering and business management expertise of EDAAS researchers at the university’s college of business, the system’s technology has been advanced across area communities, providing the knowledge needed to improve local food practices. Value is added by the initiative’s ability to create additional revenue for communities, and it is made more viable by its capacity to generate substantial quantities of organic food while requiring low maintenance.

Innovation Description

Two of the main EDAAS objectives are the distribution of knowledge for growing food sustainably and the promotion of financial growth. The system is designed to prioritize the environmentally friendly production of food, specifically organically grown vegetables and freshwater tilapia. Each cycle of the EDAAS requires a minimum of six weeks to cultivate the vegetables, while the fish need four months to reach a marketable size, averaging a weight of about 10 ounces (300 grams) each.

The primary responsibilities of EDAAS researchers are the design, fabrication, training instruction, and administration of entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at generating economic benefits for communities involved in the project. Starting with research funding of 10,000 RM (about 2,100 USD) from Universiti Utara Malaysia in 2020, the EDAAS initiative has since developed a more sophisticated smart-farming approach, capable of achieving sustainable food production in a controlled environment.

In 2023, the Malaysia Innovation Foundation (Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia) recognized the noteworthy achievements of EDAAS researchers, including their help in generating community funds through the increase in food production. The foundation awarded the researchers an additional grant of 71,000 RM (about 15,000 USD) to facilitate the development of intelligent aquaponic systems that will use advanced agricultural techniques.

Innovation Impact

Since the development of the “Ezee DIY Aquaponic Design,” the project has been reimagined as the Ezee DIY Aquaponic Automation System. The EDAAS offers several financial advantages, making it an attractive choice for individuals and entities interested in sustainable agriculture. The participation of EDAAS researchers from the university’s college of business has contributed to community members’ ability to produce organic foods and generate additional income for their families. For instance, one participant in the EDAAS program achieved a revenue of approximately 1,800 RM (close to 400 USD) during each cycle of the project.

The EDAAS initiative has been effectively implemented in several locations, such as the Kulim City Council, three schools around the state of Kedah, and two communities near UUM. The researchers involved have effectively shared their knowledge of sustainable food production and improved community business and management skills, increasing cultivation and supplementing resources.

Planned growth prospects for the future of the EDAAS project anticipate the integration of other disciplines. For instance, implementing a cloud monitoring system would optimize food production. To continue their improvements to the system, researchers actively participate in joint endeavors with additional departments of UUM.

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