Horticulture hybrid seminar Tokyo success with 180 registrants; Presentations now available online

On 27 October, the Netherlands Embassy organized its annual Netherlands-Japan Horticulture Seminar on the theme “Sustainable and Profitable Greenhouse Business: High-tech applications to greenhouses”. The seminar was held in a hybrid format, both in person at Tokyo Big Sight and online via Zoom. The event attracted nearly 180 registrants, indicating a great interest in this topic.

At the opening of the seminar, H.E. Mr. Peter van der Vliet, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Japan gave a welcome address and Mr. Sumito Yasuoka, Councillor, Minister’s Secretariat (Crop Production Bureau) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries gave a guest of honor speech. This was followed by presentations by experts from both the Netherlands and Japan, which gave the latest information and insight on applications of robotics and data-driven automation in the field of greenhouse horticulture.

The presentations in both English and Japanese are available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1UO80OpVj1JgHn96AGu1TAm34QEmZ-zsN?usp=sharing

  • “Potential of Digital Twin technology in horticulture”

Mr. Rick van de Zedde, Senior scientist/ business developer Phenomics & Automation, Wageningen University & Research (WUR)

  • “High-resolution plant growth monitoring for intelligent environmental control in greenhouse”

Prof. Dr. Kotaro Takayama, Graduate School of Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Ehime University

  • “Promoting Data-driven Digital Agriculture”

Mr. Yamato Nomura, Cloud & Network Services dev, NTT Communications Corporation

  • “Opportunities for Japan-Netherlands collaboration in greenhouse robotics”

Mr. Erik Pekkeriet, Program Manager Agro food Robotics, Wageningen University & Research (WUR)

  • “Japan-Netherlands collaboration on high-tech greenhouses - towards urban development with agriculture as a starting point”

Mr. Daiki Endo, Senior Vice President, CTO, NTT AgriTechnology Corporation

A panel discussion followed the presentations, with Ms. Denise Lutz, Agricultural Counsellor as moderator. Since the two Dutch presenters could not join the discussion real time, two other experts from the Netherlands, namely Mr. Pieter de Visser, Senior scientist plant modelling of the Business Unit ‘Greenhouse Horticulture’ of Wageningen University & Research and Mr. Wierd Vonk, General Manager Asia at Hoogendoorn Growth Management, joined as panelists. Together with the Japanese presenters they contributed to lively discussions on questions related to the topics presented.

It was suggested that although there are still gaps to be filled before technologies such as Digital Twin, an integrated AI platform or robotics are fully applied to commercial greenhouses, each of them are expected to contribute to a more sustainable food production, with less input, less waste and better performance. The cost of implementation is critical to success as are the mindset and skills of growers who are the operators of greenhouses. With regard to costs, it was pointed out that whereas for research purposes advanced high tech tools may be preferable, for practical implementation less sophisticated and less expensive equipment, like inexpensive sensors or simple twin models, would do just fine. As regards the future of growers, all panelists agreed that even when all technologies are fully developed and implemented, growers are still necessary although their role will be changing: they will become more like data scientists, in charge of keeping an overview of the strategies that are followed.

Horticulture hybrid seminar
Venue of the seminar at Tokyo Big Sight
Horticulture hybrid seminar
Ms. Denise Lutz, Agricultural Counsellor of the Netherlands Embassy in Japan and moderator of the seminar
Horticulture hybrid seminar
H.E. Mr. Peter van der Vliet, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Japan, giving welcome remarks at the seminar