Toyota Motor Corporation announced today that it has signed a business tie-up agreement with Li Fham Co., Ltd. and NabehachiNousan Co., Ltd., two agricultural companies based in Aichi Prefecture, for the development of a cutting-edge agricultural model.
The Japanese agricultural industry is currently experiencing the rapid abandonment of farming as the current agricultural workforce continues to age. At the same time, the number of agricultural companies is increasing, along with the scale of cultivation. With regards to rice production in particular, the business environment is undergoing major changes including falling prices and rising consumer demands for higher quality produce. Agricultural companies need to go beyond existing agriculture technologies and use cutting-edge and future technologies in the quality, environmental, and information fields, shifting from family management to organizational management.
This tie-up is based on initiatives relating to the agricultural IT management service (Housaku Keikaku) that Toyota has been working on since 2012. It will develop a cutting-edge agricultural model that incorporates the following three elements: (1) precision agriculture processes that link big data and cutting-edge technology, (2) improved logistics and sales processes, and (3) the expansion to multiple product types. Toyota will work primarily on development that links cutting-edge technology with agriculture, while Li Fham and NabehachiNousan will provide the necessary conditions for the development of the model, and will handle model operation and evaluation. Toyota will learn about agricultural business operation and farm work from the two companies at farming sites, which will lead to more practical technological developments and agricultural support.
Toyota began working with NabehachiNousan on improving rice production processes in 2011, with the aim of contributing to the sustainable growth of agriculture. Toyota applied its expertise with production control techniques and process improvements acquired through its experience in the automobile industry to the agriculture field. In 2014, Toyota developed a cloud-based service that applies the concepts of the Toyota Production System to agriculture. Toyota has provided this service along with the improvement support unique to Toyota, while also helping to boost agricultural productivity and to also foster human resources that are capable of making better improvements.
Through these efforts to develop a cutting-edge agricultural model, Toyota will further enhance the functions of the agricultural IT management service (Housaku Keikaku), develop new products and services for the agricultural sector, and contribute to the future of agriculture.