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The Future of Japanese Food is in the Hands of Robots

  • 30
  • 05
  • 2016

As the average working age continues to rise in many Asian countries, the government, citizens, and companies have to think outside the box, often turning to artificial intelligence and technology for the solution.

In the Japanese agricultural sector, 65 percent of workers are over the age of 65, and as the youth of Japan continue to move away from rural and agricultural areas, Japan’s reliance on food imports will only become stronger.

In an indoor farm in Kameoka, there are plans to have nearly all tasks carried out by industrial robots. The vegetable producer, Spread, said that the robots will perform all necessary tasks bar one, planting the initial seed.

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It is estimated that this technology will result in a surge of productivity and results, boosting production from 21,000 heads of lettuce a day, to 50,000 a day. And this figure is only expected to rise.

JJ Price, the global marketing manager said, “The seeds will still be planted by humans, but every other step, from the transplanting of young seedlings to larger spaces as they grow to harvesting the lettuce, will be done automatically.”

In other robot-related farming news, Japan is home to the strawberry picking robot which works at speeds of one every 8 seconds and also to a robot which uses cameras to detect and pick ripe tomatoes on a vine every 20 seconds.

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The future of farming in Japan is not a light issue. For the first time in the past seven years, the Group of Seven agricultural ministers recently met in Japan to discuss this very issue. Members of the U.S government stated that if the aging population is left to run its course, the future of global food could be heavily affected.

In the past two decades, farm land has almost halved, and Japan hopes the use of technology will attract the attention of Japanese youth.

In the next year, Japan will spend around $36 million to produce and test farm automation systems.

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