In previous trials, tomato farmers found average yields increased 1.3 times using 20 percent less fertilizer.
NEC and Kagome have announced a partnership agreement, which will oversee further development and commercialization of artificial intelligence services for tomato farmers.
NEC has worked on the AI agriculture platform, CropScope, with Kagome for five years. It conducted a series of demonstrations in Portugal, Australia, and the United States in 2019. In those trials, average yields increased 1.3 times using 20 percent less fertilizer.
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The AI platform records data from sensors embedded on the tomato farm and from satellite images, which provide accurate and personalized data on amounts of irrigation and fertilizer needed, alongside the optimal time to plant and harvest the fruit.
“NEC is pleased to have signed a strategic partnership agreement with Kagome and to jointly launch an agricultural management support business utilizing AI for the processed tomato market,” said Masamitsu Kitase, general manager of the corporate business development division at NEC. “By accelerating the digitization of agriculture, NEC aims to realize a sustainable agriculture that can respond flexibly to global social issues on climate change and food safety.”
Due to the vast quantity of tomato that ends up as sauce, paste or ketchup, Kagome, a manufacturer of tomato-based foods, has a clear interest in improving yield and reducing cost. Kagome will establish Smart Agri Division this year, with the aim of targeting customers in Europe, then Japan.
“By combining Kagome’s farming know-how with NEC’s AI technology, we will realize sustainable agriculture,” said Kengo Nakata, general manager of Kagome’s Smart Agri division.