According to The Asahi Shimbun, Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp. wants to get its hands dirty by making use of its prowess in advanced information technology to assist small and midsize farmers in their quest for better yields.
Panasonic offers to analyze soil samples for quality based on techniques used by crop growers to achieve better tasting harvests across Japan that are more nutritional.
The endeavor is also intended to help lessen their reliance on agrochemicals and chemical fertilizers. Panasonic said its aim is simply to make agriculture more eco-friendly and sustainable.
This past summer, vegetable grower Shigemasa Suzuki was agonizing over his farm’s falling productivity, which was especially painful as he knew the demand was there.
“If I continue to rely on conventional methods, I won't be able to respond to recent drastic climate changes,” Suzuki recalled thinking.
Vegetable prices surged due to poor weather conditions nationwide. Suzuki grows eggplants in Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture, and was desperate to increase shipments but had no luck.
The prolonged rainy season in July, followed by August with very little rainfall, left Suzuki pondering how to “radically review soil preparation in a way that can significantly affect the harvest, shape and other qualities of my crops.”
It was around this time that Suzuki heard from another farmer about the Saibai Nabi Doctor service introduced by Panasonic in May.
The system works very much like a doctor's diagnosis of a health problem in the way it evaluates agricultural field conditions cited by farmers. For example, it uses 27 categories to look at such things as the presence of magnesium, which is indispensable for photosynthesis., and essential minerals for organic farming.
The findings are shown in numerical form to provide advice on how to improve soil conditions for different crops. Fertilizers needed for soil preparation can be bought through the service as well.
Suzuki sent a soil sample from his field to Panasonic and received the analysis findings in late August. The assessment revealed his farm “lacks manganese” but is “excessively rich in zinc,” which means his land is anything but ideal for growing eggplants.
Based on the results, Suzuki said he will “follow the advice and use fertilizers and check the soil conditions regularly,” adding that he also intends to use the service for soil preparation to grow spinach and asparagus.
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