In Japan, technology is revolutionizing the agricultural industry. From robots to artificial intelligence and blockchain-based marketing, a number of startups are leveraging modern innovations to improve farming methods and create a more sustainable industry.
One such startup is Metagri-Labo, a community launched in March 2022 that is merging agriculture and blockchain technology to increase farming revenues and revitalize regional areas. To achieve this, the group is launching its first non-fungible token project in April 2022, in partnership with farmers from Kumamoto Prefecture. Through the project, limited-edition “Metagri-Labo Suica Collection” NFTs are being issued, with actual watermelons and other benefits delivered to those who purchase them. Similar agricultural NFTs have since been issued for tomato, grape, and rice farmers, with the sale of a collection of citrus-themed NTFs to support the revitalization of an island off the coast of Ehime Prefecture.
Another startup taking advantage of technology is Tenchijin, a subsidiary of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. It is using AI and data collected from satellites to assess land for optimal rice production. The system, known as Compass, takes into account environmental, socioeconomic, and land use factors to analyze big data and identify ideal conditions and cultivation methods for growing higher-quality rice.
Finally, Nagano Prefecture-based startup Emi Lab is developing a mobile cube-shaped, pesticide-spraying robot on a made-to-order basis. The four-wheeled vehicles, which are designed to do some heavy lifting for aging farmers, are more effective at reaching the underside of leaves than airborne drones and can also be operated remotely. The robots are powered by a rechargeable battery, and can carry up to 100 liters of chemical solution. At a price of ¥2 million, the hope is that farmers will be eager to use them.
These are just a few examples of the innovative solutions being developed by Japan’s startups to revolutionize the agricultural industry. With the help of these technological advancements, it is hoped that the industry can become more efficient, sustainable, and profitable.