Aiming for stable procurement of Yamada Nishiki rice, which is ideal for sake brewing and used to make Dassai sake
Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd.,Fujitsu Limited
Iwakuni and Tokyo, Japan, August 04, 2014
Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd. and Fujitsu Limited today announced the start of a new initiative for the increased production and stable procurement of Yamada Nishiki, the type of rice used to make the Dassai brand of sake, which is brewed and marketed by Asahi Shuzo.
In April 2014, Asahi Shuzo and Fujitsu deployed the Agricultural Production Management SaaS of Fujitsu's Akisai Food and Agriculture Cloud and multi-sensing networks at farms in Yamaguchi Prefecture that produce the Yamada Nishiki type of rice to collect and accumulate cultivation data in order to visualize work activity and production costs.
Based on this accumulated cultivation data, and with the support of agricultural producers, Asahi Shuzo aims to establish stable cultivation technology, while providing cultivation know-how to new producers just starting production of Yamada Nishiki, thereby enhancing initiatives to increase the production of this variety of rice.
Through its Akisai cloud service, Fujitsu intends to support movement toward a new enterprise management style that will improve agriculture and food markets, while bringing about a future of plentiful food, where safe, secure, and delicious food products are available at any time.
Background and Issues
A Yamada Nishiki rice field
Shipments of Japanese sake have been in decline for quite some time, but since 2010, demand for high-quality sake, such as the Junmai and Ginjo types, has been steadily increasing. The production volume of rice suitable for sake brewing, however, has remained flat, resulting in a continuous shortage of rice suitable for sake brewing.
Asahi Shuzo uses Yamada Nishiki, which has an excellent reputation as a variety of rice used in sake brewing, for the production of Dassai. In contrast to the increase in sales of Dassai, however, the production of Yamada Nishiki has been limited, resulting in the inability to stably procure the amount needed to make Dassai in recent years. In addition, Yamada Nishiki is difficult to cultivate, given a tendency for its stalks to collapse and irregular yields, making it difficult to attract new producers.
To deal with these issues, Asahi Shuzo has held workshops throughout Japan to increase the number of contract Yamada Nishiki producers. Fujitsu, which has worked to offer Akisai since 2012, has begun efforts to bring about an increase in the production volume of Yamada Nishiki, and create an environment where new producers can stably cultivate and harvest the rice.
The New Initiative
In April 2014, Akisai's Agriculture Production Management SaaS and multi-sensing network were provided to two Yamada Nishiki producers in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The two producers, under the direction of Asahi Shuzo and Fujitsu, have begun Yamada Nishiki cultivation activities that include collecting, accumulating and visualization.
Collecting of Data on Work Activity
Daily work activity (type of work, when, and at which field) along with which pesticides, fertilizers and materials are used, and the quality and amount of rice at time of harvest, are recorded into tablets, smart devices and PCs.
Collecting of Data on the Environment
Sensors placed in fields automatically collect and record, once every hour, atmospheric temperature, humidity, soil temperature, soil moisture and EC(1). Every day at noon a fixed-position camera photographs the state of growth.
A multi-sensor network that collects environmental information
Currently, rice in the fields is growing smoothly, and harvest will take place this fall, around October. After harvest, the accumulated data will be analyzed and utilized in the following manner.
Using positive work activity of cultivation results (quality and amount of harvest) as a reference, a cultivation calendar (guidance for cultivation) will be created.
Costs for the overall process of production that were difficult to grasp in the past will be calculated out of work activity.
Information on the traceability of production will be created to secure safety, through data accumulated on the usage of pesticides and fertilizers.
Yamada Nishiki rice
From fiscal 2015, Asahi Shuzo aims to further increase the number of producers participating in these efforts, and to improve the quality of Yamada Nishiki's cultivation calendar to correspond with specific characteristics of respective regions.
In the future, by providing cultivation calendars to new producers of Yamada Nishiki, Asahi Shuzo will support these producers so that they can quickly achieve stable production and manage their operations in a stable manner.
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 162,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.8 trillion yen (US$46 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.
All company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.