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Japan: Govt to Standardize Farm-related IT Data
Source: the-japan-news.com
Source Date: Sunday, March 23, 2014
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: Japan
Created: Mar 25, 2014

The government will start working out a strategy on Monday to unify the standards of IT systems used for agricultural production, so data such as the amount of exposure to the sun’s rays and crops’ growth situation can be utilized as “big data” to help farmers increase their production and improve the quality of their crops, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

A panel of experts at the government’s comprehensive IT strategy headquarters will begin the task.

It is aimed at having data input systems for farming-related IT, which currently differ among electronics and farm equipment makers, join hands, with accumulated data put into a database and utilized as “big data” for fostering more competitive farmers.

The panel will compile its strategy by the end of May and draw up guidelines for utilizing the data.

Major electronics makers and farm equipment makers have developed systems designed to help farmers increase production and improve crop quality by enabling them to record their daily work with portable devices and check the amount of crops with sensors attached to agricultural machines such as combines.

According to government sources, the items inputted into current systems and their ways of obtaining data differ among manufacturers, and the systems are not linked to each other. Because of such restrictions, farmers using different companies’ systems cannot combine their stored data. They also cannot have past data reflected in a new system when they change from one maker’s equipment to another’s.

The government therefore decided to develop guidelines for standardizing data input items, such as the amount of exposure to the sun, air temperature, soil temperature and crop growth situation, to utilize the data from the new fiscal year.

After that, the government intends to interconnect different company’s systems. This will let farmers compare their situation with other farmers and facilitate the making of special branded products from particular regions and areas.

There have been few attempts of this kind in the world. The government has also considered measures for protecting accumulated data from being disseminated to other countries, considering the international standardization of the system in the future.

The government aims to have the standardized data lead to an expansion in scale for Japanese farming households.

“There will be more opportunities for competent farmers, leading to the greater international competitiveness of Japanese farmers,” a government official said.

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