Report on the International Smart Food Chain Symposium 2020

The International Smart Food Chain Symposium was held online on November 5th, 2020, with the purpose of presenting and discussing current efforts and future prospects for the development of a global data platform to optimize the production, distribution, and consumption of agricultural products and foods.

(Organizers: Smart Food Chain Consortium, a project of Technologies for Smart Bio-industry and Agriculture administered by Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Keio Research Institute at SFC)

Sharing Japan's efforts towards the development of smart food chains with the world

Moderated by Hidemi Izumi, Ph.D., Professor at the Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology, Kindai University, the Symposium started with the Opening Remarks by Hiroshi Uehara, Ph.D., Professor at the Faculty of Systems Science and Technology, Akita Prefectural University, followed by the Guest's Address delivered by Kazuo Kyuma, Ph.D., President of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO). After the Keynote Address by Rosa Rolle, Ph.D., Senior Enterprise Development Officer and Team Leader, Food Loss and Waste, Food and Nutrition Division, FAO, and Noriaki Kobayashi, Program Director of the Technologies for Smart Bio-industry and Agriculture Project under the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program, four speakers held their presentations, which illustrated case studies and future prospects of Japan's smart food chains.

Panel Discussion and Poster Session with a look towards Asia

Japanese and international experts in smart agriculture, including Dr. Tran Cong Thang, Director General of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam, and Noppadon Khiripet, Ph.D., Principal Researcher at the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) of Thailand, joined a Panel Discussion entitled "Possibilities and Expectations for the Development of an International Smart Food Chain." Among the topics discussed were the effects of smart food chains on business and distribution economics, COVID-19 and food safety-related issues, and future challenges for the smart food chain development in Asia.
During the Poster Session, companies, universities and graduate schools presented themes related to smart food chains. Online meeting rooms were set up for each of the 14 presentations and participants were able to enter and leave at any time to ask questions or join the discussion.

About 300 people from Japan and several Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar, participated in this event.

Speech Summary

Keynote AddressManaging Food Safety Risks and Reducing Food Loss: Current Situation

Rosa Rolle, Ph.D.Senior Enterprise Development Officer, Team Leader, Food Loss and Waste, Food and Nutrition Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

In this speech were presented the actions that have been taken by countries to mitigate food safety risks in their supply chains, to reduce the health impacts of unsafe food in their local markets, and to increase their compliance with food safety standards for import-export trade.

Comming Soon

Keynote AddressTechnologies for Smart Bio-industry and Agriculture

Noriaki KobayashiProgram Director, Technologies for Smart Bio-industry and Agriculture Project under the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program

The outline of activities to develop the circular economic model called Smart Food System was introduced in this presentation. The Smart Food System is the main concept of SIP Phase 2 and is expected to contribute to the achievement of "Food" sustainability. The speaker also explained the Agricultural Data Collaboration Platform (WAGRI) and the technology developed in each segment of the system through to its implementation.

Oral Session 1Food Safety and Smart Food Chains

Nobuhiko NakajimaProject Associate Professor, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University

An overview of the Smart Food Chain Platform (SFP) was provided in this presentation using peaches and grapes export as a demonstrative example. The speaker also introduced the “JAS with Food Chain Information (tentative name),” an initiative aimed at bringing new added value to food and ensuring proper food safety, a topic that is sure to become more and more relevant going forward.
* Presentation held on behalf of Atsushi Shinjo, Ph.D. (Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University)

Oral Session 1Introduction of Efforts for Utilization in Distribution of Smart Food Chains

Megumi YoshimaSenior Researcher, Agricultural & Regional Development Marketing Research Dept., The Distribution Economics Institute of Japan

In this presentation were explained the current state of agricultural product distribution in Japan, as well as the functions and requirements required of smart food chains to solve the problem of supply chain rigidity. Demonstration experiments and concrete efforts were introduced, and the speech was concluded with the prospects for the new innovations that are now being pursued.
* Presentation held on behalf of Shunsuke Orikasa (Division Director, Agriculture and Regional Development Division, The Distribution Economics Institute of Japan)

Oral Session 2Development of a Data-driven System for Forecasting Crop Growth to Support Efficient Agricultural Operation and Reduction of Food Loss

Hisatomi Harada, Ph.D.Director-General, NARO Development Strategy Center, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO)

This presentation dealt with the development of a system aimed at reducing food loss at agricultural sites and reducing working hours to compensate the decreasing farmer population. As a specific example, initiatives taken to drastically reduce field disposal of leafy vegetables and bruised potato were reported.

Oral Session 2Introducing a PoC (Proof of Concept) Test of a Smart Food Chain

Shigenobu YoshidaProject Manager, IT Farm Project, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

This speech illustrated how, thanks to a blockchain-based traceability system, the Japanese agricultural products are recognized as safe, secure and fresh by overseas consumers, leading to evaluation results that improve their value. A verification test concerning the export of strawberries and spinach to Hong Kong was reported as an example.