Aug. 20, 2018
JA Miyagi Tome
Sumitomo Corporation Tohoku Co., Ltd.
Strategic Partnership on Advanced Agriculture in the District Covered by Japan Agricultural Cooperatives Miyagi Tome
Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo) and Sumitomo Corporation Tohoku Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture; President: Tsutomu Morikawa) (collectively, “the Sumitomo Corporation Group”) have signed an agreement on strategic partnership (hereinafter, “the Agreement”) with Japan Agricultural Cooperatives Miyagi Tome (Head Office: Tome City, Miyagi Prefecture; President: Isamu Sakakibara; hereinafter, “JA Miyagi Tome”) to introduce advanced agricultural technologies suitable for the climate within the district covered by JA Miyagi Tome (hereinafter, “the district”) and launch new services for producers.
Situated in the northeastern part of Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, the district has been used to grow rice since ancient times. Its fertile agricultural soil is fed by the Kitakami river on its eastern side and the Hasama river running through its center. Tome City has worked on rice cultivation friendly to rice paddies and the environment, and is the birthplace of Environmentally Friendly Rice,1 which is now grown on more than 80 percent of the City’s land planted with rice. Tome City is also one of the leaders in crop farming-animal farming collaboration using by-products of rice cultivation (straw and rice husks). Resource-recycling agriculture is also practiced across the district: by-products of the Environmentally Friendly Rice are used to feed livestock, livestock waste is processed into organic fertilizers at seven organic centers in the city, and the fertilizers are returned to rice paddies. This circulatory system supports the production of Environmentally Friendly Rice.
Under the Agreement, Sumitomo Corporation will propose advanced technologies identified through its global network to JA Miyagi Tome. JA Miyagi Tome and Sumitomo Corporation will carry out introductory tests for technologies that are highly likely to generate demand from producers to verify whether they are suited to the agriculture in the district and can function efficiently or not. The two will also simulate possible changes that the introduction of advanced technologies may bring about, and develop and launch new services that pursue more efficient agriculture and benefits for producers. Starting August 2018, verification of crop protection product application, crop growth diagnosis, etc. using agricultural drones made by Nileworks Inc.,2 in which Sumitomo Corporation is an investor, will be carried out. Verification of water level management using water level sensors will also start.
JA Miyagi Tome and the Sumitomo Corporation Group will verify world-class advanced technologies and accelerate initiatives for improving efficiency in agriculture in order to maintain and further develop the resource-recycling agriculture practiced in the district going forward.
1 Environmentally Friendly Rice is rice grown by using less than half the conventional amount of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in order to reduce the environmental impact.
2 Nileworks has succeeded in developing the world’s first technology for fully automated drone flight with centimeter accuracy. Flying drones at a point-blank range of 30 cm above rice results in a reduction in the amount of crop protection products sprayed and allows the status of crop growth to be diagnosed at the plant level on a real-time basis, enabling the achievement of new precision agriculture in which optimum amounts of fertilizers and agrochemicals are applied at the plant level based on diagnosis results.
■Image of alliance
■Agricultural drone made by Nileworks