Two hours were enough for Japan’s State Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr. Sakai Manabu, to ratify once again that the use of technologies and information is key to improve agricultural production systems.
Walking through CIAT’s rice experimental fields, the Japanese delegation, led by the State Minister and Japanese Ambassador to Colombia, Keiichiro Morishita, learned about the progress made by the precision agriculture project behind e-kakashi, a new promising model for agriculture, which uses technological tools for real-time data transmission.
E-kakashi enables regular data collection through remote sensors, gathering information at different stages of crop growth and including variables from the surrounding environment.
CIAT established the trial with the e-kakashi platform in June 2017 and, according to CIAT’s Agrobiodiversity research area scientist Satoshi Ogawa, the tool has made possible to collect useful data about rice cultivation, which allows a better understanding of the crop growth process, as well as better recommendations and decision-making during the crop cycle.
In that spirit, Ogawa believes that installing more of these devices in Colombia would be critical to collect more data and, as a result, access development opportunities. It is estimated that in Japan over a thousand platforms of sensors have been installed, of which 300 are e-kakashi.
In fact, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and Colombia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies recently signed a memorandum of understanding to launch pilot projects that take advantage of information and communication technologies in the field of agriculture.
Japan’s State Minister said that in a recent meeting with Colombia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) and National Rice Growers Association (FEDEARROZ), it was agreed to assess the tests being run at CIAT with rice.
“We hope that the new research studies, now being reviewed, will build on the advances made so far, and that they will continue to receive CIAT’s support as they move forward,” said Minister Sakai Manabu.
During our visit, we received a detailed account of how this tool is working. I’m gratefully impressed. We hope to see the results of its implementation on the ground, because there are many possibilities for application in Colombia due to the great potential for improving agricultural systems.”
A long-term project
The implementation of e-kakashi in CIAT’s rice experimental fields was possible within the framework of the “Development and adoption of a Latin American low-input rice production system through genetic improvement and advanced field-management technologies” project. The project, launched in 2014, is funded by the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).
This project will also contribute to the development of rice varieties tolerant to drought and low nitrogen levels, and has an important training component for Colombian and Japanese researchers.
This article was originally posted on CIAT’s News Blog in Spanish.