Nov 25th 2020
Introduction of ADX project 1: Sagri (Agriculture)
On October 14th, it was announced that 23 demonstration projects were selected as a first round of the Financial Support Program, which was designed to strengthen Asia Digital Transformation (ADX). The Financial Support Program, funded by METI Japan and one of the flagship projects among ASEAN-Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan, aims to promote digital innovation to solve various socio-economic challenges in ASEAN including ones brought by COVID-19. The program covers expenses for demonstration projects on digital technologies, jointly carried out by Japanese and ASEAN companies. The 23 projects are well diversified in terms of themes, which include medical & healthcare, agriculture, fisheries, tourism & mobility, environment & energy, and manufacturing & HR.
At first, AMEICC Secretariat interviewed Sagri, a Japanese agritech start-up established in 2018 and its local partner ListenField, a Thailand agritech start-up established in 2017. These two companies aim to build agricultural database and to promote smart farming in Thailand by utilizing satellite big data and AI.
Interviewee: Mr. Tsuboi Shunsuke from Sagri and
Ms. Rassarin Chinnachodteeranun from ListenField
- Q :
- (For Sagri) Why did you choose Thailand?
- A :
- Contributing to the solution of agricultural and environmental issues in developing countries has always been at the heart of Sagri’s business since its establishment. In ASEAN region, we see a great potential in Thailand because the country has agricultural issues similar to Japan; more specifically, both of these countries’ government are trying to integrate agricultural data, but with slow progress as data input to the government database is still heavily relying on inefficient manual, paper-based work. Sagri provided solutions to address similar issues in Japan (“ACTABA”), which have been adopted in numerous municipal. With our knowledge and experience, we believe we would be able to contribute to solving agricultural issues in Thailand as well.
- Q :
- (For Sagri) Please tell us the detail of your plans in Thailand?
- A :
1) Establish government agricultural database; with the use of satellite data and AI, it provides a foundation to register each section of the farmland and enables to gather their real-time information (e.g. cultivation/crop details and yield amounts, etc.).
2) Provide an application connected with the database, which allows local farmers to easily input their farmland’s information (e.g. land owner’s details and the kinds of crops raised etc.) from smartphones. For the application, we plan to use “FarmAI”, developed by our local partner, ListenField. These solutions will drastically reduce the amount of manual work (i.e. farmland visits for hearings, data input of any paper-based documents) the government officers have been handling.
3) Implement “Smart farming”; With the data accumulated in the agricultural database, we provide advice on the appropriate timing and quantity of fertilizer, assist on understanding weather prediction and prepare natural disaster countermeasures, and interpret yield prediction to purchase suitable agricultural materials. We hope to collaborate with agricultural machinery manufacturers and leverage the government database, to provide further smart farming solutions.
Overview of the solutions Sagri and ListenField are trying to provide
- Q :
- (For Sagri) What are the innovative features and uniqueness of these solutions?
- A :
- This new technology automatically detects each section of the farmland using satellite data and AI, and therefore enables to build accurate agricultural database more efficiently. To allow for the users to check and visualize real-time data of each farmland on agricultural database is another innovative and unique feature. “ACTABA”, a solution we provide in Japan, by applying new algorithm to the AI, enables to monitor each farmland and identify abandoned farmland without any on-site visits.
“ACTABA”, Sagri’s solution to identify abandoned farmland
- Q :
- (For Sagri) Why did you choose ListenField as a partner for this project?
- A :
- ListenField is one of the major agritech players in Thailand. The company has its own support system for farmers who are unfamiliar with technologies (e.g. elder farmers) and already has a list of Thailand farmers as its existing application users, and its strong connections with local farmers is another great advantage for the project.
- Q :
- (For ListenField), why did you decide to partner up with Sagri?
- A :
- Prior to the launch of this project, we had heard the name Sagri, and had been interested in its advanced technology and innovative approach on agriculture. Once we started discussion, we were convinced that we share the similar vision in promoting smart farming, and could create positive synergies from technological perspectives.
- Q :
- (For Sagri) With the demonstration experiments coming up, what are the next steps and future prospects of this project?
- A :
- First step of the project will begin by promoting smart farming to the farmers in Thailand with the agricultural database. Next step will be to take this project further with the database, and develop a system which can potentially contribute to microfinance and global warming. We are also looking at Indonesia as our next ASEAN country to provide our solution because the country has a large population and is a major production country of palm and rice.