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Initiatives toward Smart Agriculture(FY 2021)Sustainability
Sustainability Site Map

Initiatives toward Smart Agriculture

The Nihon Nohyaku Group’s CSR Basic Policy sets a clear goal of contributing to food and the environment / society through technological innovation. We believe that from now on it will be important to contribute to the development of agriculture both in Japan and worldwide using not only agrochemicals, but also cutting-edge technologies. We are drawing on our wealth of knowledge and experience as an agrochemical manufacturer to contribute to smart agriculture, which uses cutting-edge technologies to address rapidly worsening structural issues, such as the aging population and the lack of young successors to take over from Japan’s farmers

Embarked on Smart Agriculture Ahead of Others

According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), smart agriculture is defined as new agriculture that achieves labor savings, more accurate and high quality production, etc. utilizing robot technologies and information and communications technologies (ICT). In light of the prevailing situation and future prospects for Japanese agriculture, in 2014 we became the first company in Japan to commence investigation into the development of new technologies such as cloud services for agriculture and AI technologies. Since then, we have proceeded with preparation such as building a basic business model and selecting business partners. Our participation in a project contracted from MAFF since 2017, helped us to discover societal needs and become involved in solving problems at the field sites level.

Improving the Smart Agriculture Promotion Structure

In 2019 we established a virtual “Smart Agriculture Promotion Preparation Department” comprising representatives of relevant divisions, and started addressing smart agriculture in earnest. Furthermore, in 2020, we created the “Smart Agriculture Promotion Department” as part of the Domestic Sales Division, and launched the cross-organizational “Smart Agriculture Promotion Project” with the aim of expanding business development and also to promote development to group companies in Japan and overseas.

Image Diagnostic Services Utilizing AI Technologies

Nihon Nohyaku’s biggest strengths are the experience and extensive knowledge of agriculture cultivation sites acquired over many years and our abundant know-how concerning pest infestations and weed control. 

We utilize such strengths to the full even in the smart agriculture business, while providing total solutions focused on agrochemical sales, mainly for large-scale producers.

Our core service is image diagnosis of pest infestations and weeds utilizing AI technologies. In April 2020, we released the free smartphone app “LeiMe AI Pest & Weed Diagnosis.”


Image Diagnostic Services Utilizing AI Technologies

Expansion of Crops Targeted for Diagnosis

The crops initially targeted for diagnosis were rice paddies, but over time we added new crops, and diagnosis is now possible for ten crops with the addition of cabbages, napa cabbages, broccoli, lettuces, leeks, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and strawberries. We plan to continue increasing the number of target crops.

Cultivating a Diverse Range of Users

More than 40% of users are producers or JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) related parties and the level of interest in the agricultural sector is steadily growing. This not only contributes to improving the production efficiency of new farmers and producers with limited experience, but is also used by skilled producers as a reference for revising control methods since the app can be used as a database for incidents of pest infestations and weeds.

A New Endeavor: Combination with Drones

In 2021, we entered into a technological alliance with DJI Japan , a world leader in consumer drones and aerial photography technology. Through this alliance, DJI’s drones will detect abnormalities in cultivated fields from above, which when combined with “LeiMe AI Pest & Weed Diagnosis ” is aimed at proposing solutions that will lead to the best control. We are also proceeding with the development of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides that are appropriate for dispersion via drones that have loading weight restrictions.

Building the Nichino Smart Agriculture service platform

We are proceeding with alliances in sensing technologies and cultivated field management clouds such as use of drones based on smartphone apps to build the Nichino Smart Agriculture service platform . In addition, we will aim to develop new solutions through complete digitalization and smart control of pest infestations and weeds, while developing new businesses such as digital marketing and the provision of control information utilizing the control data thus accumulated.

Building the Nichino AI Pest Control Support System

Future Developments

We are currently jointly promoting “LeiMe AI Pest & Weed Diagnosis ” with three agrochemical manufacturers (Nissan Chemical Corporation; Nippon Soda Co., Ltd . ;Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc.) that share the same perspective. We will continue working to re-teach AI and cooperating with users to improve accuracy with regard to the percentage of correct answers in the diagnostic results. We plan to increase the number of target crops to 19 by 2023. We plan to release the app in multiple languages, in regions in Asia such as India, Vietnam and Taiwan. We will continue to help build more sustainable societies by contributing to the development of agriculture in Japan and the world, while making use of cutting-edge technologies.

Note: The Smart Agriculture Promotion Department’s Activities

As use of smart agriculture increases at agricultural production sites, education about smart agriculture needs to be improved for the producers of the future. The Smart Agriculture Promotion Department is actively helping to meet key societal needs such as training future agricultural producers by offering lectures and practical training at agricultural high schools and universities using the actual “LeiMe AI Pest & Weed Diagnosi s” app.