Japans Landbouwministerie komt met Innovation Strategy 2020

Op 27 mei jl heeft het Japanse landbouwministerie MAFF hun nieuwe Innovatie Strategie 2020 gepubliceerd. De strategie moet een brug slaan tussen enerzijds het ambitieuze Society 5.0 programma, en landbouw- en plattelandsbeleid anderzijds. Er zijn drie pilaren geformuleerd: 1. SMART-Agriculture, 2. Duurzaamheid, en 3. Bio (uitgangsmateriaal). Veel aandacht wordt besteed aan robotica, AI, bio-energy, klimaat neutrale kas, en beter uitgangsmateriaal: onderwerpen die de afgelopen zijn besproken in de bilaterale landbouwdialoog met Nederland. Hieronder de belangrijkste prioriteiten.

Themes Smart agriculture policy

  • Demonstration projects in Smart Agriculture focused on the elimination of labor shortage;
  • Creation of a platform for new Smart Agriculture services;
  • Business models of new Smart Agriculture services focused on lowering costs;
  • Fully autonomous, unmanned agricultural machinery systems;
  • Data-driven smart agriculture utilizing AI by collecting and accumulating data with smart devices;
  • Build a smart food chain that connects data from production to distribution, processing, consumption, and even export;

Themes Environment policy

  • Local production and local consumption of renewable energy that contributes to greenhouse gas reduction;
  • Bring Greenhouse Gases generated in the agricultural production/distribution process closer to zero, by using more electric agricultural and forestry machinery, electric fishing boats, making fuel cells, and decarbonizing the entire supply chain;
  • Reduce emissions of methane and N2O derived from the agriculture and livestock industry through innovation and make the reductions in emissions from farmland and livestock visible;
  • Develop a system to quantify the amount of greenhouse gas reduction and absorption and make it visible;
  • Build a “carbon recycling society” by fully utilizing biomass resources, such as conversion to biomass-derived materials;
  • Develop technology to mitigate damages of climate change; Build a food production system that controls and modifies microbial functions to achieve both increased food production and global environmental conservation.

Bio policy

  • Connect personal data such as human genome information and food data, and use them as big data for research and development;
  • Services to offer delicious and healthy food according one’s health and body condition; Analyze data to achieve evidence and data-based dietary health;
  • Promote breeding programs by using a breeding platform and agri-bio bases linked to big data and AI simulators;
  • Elucidate the gene function of agricultural, forestry and marine products and design agricultural products in cyber space;
  • Make maximum use of unused genetic resources and rapidly create next-generation plants with the required environmental adaptability;
  • Expand the scope of resource utilization in rural areas by creating biomaterials; Create new eco-friendly business, improve local income, reduce CO2 emissions, and contribute to environmental protection in rural areas;
  • Improve the functions of useful organisms (silkworms, etc.) and realize the commercial production of new functional biomaterials and veterinary drugs; Use them as alternatives to biosensors and laboratory animals;
  • Complete domestic production of raw materials for biobased-manufacturing in Japan using Japanese genetic resources and breeding and production technologies.

For each of these fields, a roadmap will be created to show the path for future R&D.

Building up a R&D environment

MAFF will take the following steps to realize it.

  • Build a system for a virtuous cycle of human resources, knowledge, and money from the R&D stage to social implementation, and promote the creation of innovation through “industry-academia-government-field” where industry-academia-government and agricultural production sites are united;
  • Assign coordinators with advanced expertise in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and foods nationwide, and support commercialization and commercialization of research results;
  • Expansively review the “Field for Knowledge Integration and Innovation” based on past achievements and challenges, and newly consider measures such as research support for start-up companies, collection of "people with different talents" and network construction, support for overseas expansion of research results, etc.;
  • Understand the needs of local sites accurately, and promote R&D that lead to solutions in collaboration with agriculture, forestry and fishermen;
  • Consider a mechanism that supports the needs of agricultural, forestry and fishermen and the resolution of on-site issues worked on by local public testing and research institutes, universities, private companies, etc.;
  • Establish a fund in the fund allocation organization under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in order to transform the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector into a growth industry, and promote challenging R&D targeting social issues that are difficult but will have a great impact if resolved;
  • The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), a national research and development agency, will cooperate with public laboratories and private companies as an agricultural ICT human resources bank centered on AI, and lead agricultural information research throughout the country by providing technical cooperation, transferring research results, and accepting human resources, etc.;
  • In addition to acquiring breeder’s rights, patent rights and trademark rights, work on responses to revisions of related systems and proper management of data and know-how related to research and development, as strategic intellectual property management that corresponds to business models of agriculture, forestry and fisheries and food industries;
  • Work with industry groups, governments, and standardization organizations from the planning stage of research and carry out research after identifying technologies that should be standardized, while working on standardization activities both inside and outside Japan;
  • Implement national open data etc. in the agricultural data collaboration platform (WAGRI) in order to promote data utilization in the agricultural field, and enrich available data and promote the development of content for farmers by private companies;
  • Promote from research and development to social implementation in SIP, which is a national project, in collaboration and cooperation with related ministries and agencies that are responsible for regulations and systems.

The information about the strategy was prepared based on a press release issued by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, but it is not a full translation of the document. As of the date of publication, the official document is available only in Japanese.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website (https://www.affrc.maff.go.jp/docs/press/200527.html)

During the G20 Niigata Agriculture Ministers' Meeting held in May 2019, Japan demonstrated smart agriculture solutions such as automated tractors, self-driving rice transplanters and drones. G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Declaration 2019

On 12 June 2018, a subcommittee meeting of the bilateral agricultural dialogue with Japan took place in the Hague. The central theme of the meeting was the use of robotics and artificial intelligence in greenhouse horticulture.