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Smart Farming: The Cloud Brings More Than Rain to Japanese Farmers

Jamie Carter
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From connected cows to vegetables that stay fresh for weeks, Fujitsu is developing a cloud-based platform that uses IoT technology to increase efficiency and modernize agriculture.

Agriculture used to be guesswork. Once crops were sown, fertilizer was spread and fingers were crossed for a good harvest. Cue the smart farm. By enlisting new technology, including sensors, the cloud and big data analytics, the agriculture sector is trying to increase efficiency and yields. For now, it’s mostly experimental. But one standout test project from Japan is showing how the smart farm can bring vital predictability to agriculture.

Food Cloud

Fujitsu has been producing low-potassium lettuce since 2014, a crop which grows quickly and stays fresh for weeks. The food and agriculture cloud project in Fukushima Prefecture, dubbed Akisai, is housed in the company’s 2,000 m² former semiconductor plant that was converted into a vast greenhouse. Inside, sensors measure soil temperature, humidity and light levels to ensure ideal growing conditions, and send environmental data to the cloud in real time.

The goal is to create consistent, predictable conditions for the lettuce in order to increase yields, explains Rishad Marquardt, Fujitsu spokesperson.

Akisai is a cloud-based platform that utilizes information and communication technology to increase efficiencies across a variety of areas in the agricultural industry. One way in which Akisai has been utilized is in the production of low-potassium lettuce that can last for several weeks and still remain perfectly fresh. It tastes great, without the bitter taste that regular lettuce usually has, and can also be eaten raw by dialysis patients and people with chronic kidney disease.

Because there are no agri-chemicals and few microbes present on the crop, it doesn’t even need washing before being eaten. Each crop takes about four weeks from seeding to shipping, and Fujitsu can manage each stage of the process remotely.

Courtesy of Fujitsu
Courtesy of Fujitsu

Courtesy of Fujitsu

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