From July 10 to 15, RVO, in cooperation with the agriculture and innovation sections of the Dutch Embassy in Tokyo, organized an innovation mission to Japan on greenhouse robotics. The Upper Sector JaNeth Onshitsu Robotto seed capital project was part of the mission’s program as it shared the mission’s objective. By engaging with various Japanese producers, researchers and government officials, the mission explored opportunities for joint research and development between the Netherlands and Japan.
The mission succeeded in collecting interesting leads for possible joint collaborative projects, if possible within the framework of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) program which could give a follow-up to the seed project.
The innovation mission consisted of some of the leading Dutch horticultural technology companies (Bom Group, Certhon, Hoogendoorn Growth Management, Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects), research institutes (WUR, WecR, TNO, One Planet Research Center) and representatives of Oost NL and LNV. Over the course of 5 days, which took the mission from Tokyo to Kyushu, mission members met with representatives of some of Japan’s leading high-tech companies (NTT Agri Technology, Panasonic, Kubota, Yaskawa), interesting start -ups related to agriculture (AGRIST, GINZAFARM, i-eat, inaho), innovative growers and greenhouses (Asai Nursery, AgriD, Aeon Agri Create, Yume Farm JA Zen-Noh) and research organizations (NARO, Ehime University, R&D Center for the Plant Factory of Osaka Metropolitan University). On the occasion of the mission, a meeting of the Bilateral Agricultural Policy Dialogue Sub-Committee was held at MAFF with a focus on the themes of open innovation and international research collaboration. The mission ended with a visit to one of Japan’s largest retailers, Aeon, to get an idea of how fresh produce is offered to the consumer.
The mission contributed to a better understanding of greenhouse horticulture in Japan, which is mainly characterized by small-scale, low- to medium-technology cultivation. The mission also provided information on the state of digitalization in horticulture, i.e. the use of data and the role of robotization in agriculture as well as in Japanese society in general. The general impression of the members of the mission was that Japanese expertise in robotics offers interesting avenues for collaboration. As a first step in the follow-up to the Seed Money project, joint projects could be set up, possibly as part of a larger PPP program, with different use cases.
Seed Money Project “JaNet Onshitsu Robotto” Dinner
During the Seed Money Project “JaNeth Onshitsu Robotto” dinner, partners NL and JP exchanged their views on a possible collaboration.
The mission visited two tomato greenhouses of AEON (right) and NTT Agri Technology (left).
The mission visited the Asai Nursery Greenhouse, where the real-time photosynthesis and transpiration monitoring system developed by Professor Kotaro Takayama of Ehime University and Toyohashi University of Technology is applied .
The mission visited Panasonic’s robotics center, where robots were on display to show the mission their technology for managing the picking and sorting of tomatoes and strawberries.
The mission visited Yaskawa Robot Village and Zen-Noh Greenhouse, a collaboration with Yaskawa on greenhouse robotics.
The last stop of the mission was in one of AEON’s supermarkets to see how fresh produce was displayed.