Visit to Plant

Public-private Solar Plant Energizes Agriculture in Kumamoto (page 3)

2019/10/22 20:23
Kenji Kaneko, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Agricultural water facilities constructed

In the aggressive agriculture, every year, the SPC's three stakeholders select a project to support by themselves, exchanging opinions after collecting information about new challenges in the local community. In some cases, they even proactively got involved in and approached the selected projects in tandem. The amount to be granted reportedly totals 5 to 6 million yen (approx US$46,062-55,274) every year.

What agricultural infrastructure will be established in the protective agriculture projects is entrusted to the two land improvement districts. Subsidies have been granted thus far to maintenance and management projects including agricultural water facilities. To be more specific, such projects included weeding/trimming and slope reclamation around a balancing reservoir for flood control, overhaul of diversion decompression valves, and dredging of a semi drainage arterial ditch around the farmland.

Such steady improvement in agricultural infrastructure leads to not only higher agricultural productivity but also has a significant effect on controlling damage from natural disasters amid increasingly extreme weather (Fig. 6 & 7).

Fig. 6: Semi drainage arterial ditch around farmland (before construction) (source: Koshi City)

Fig. 7: Semi drainage arterial ditch around farmland (after completion) (source: Koshi City)

'Cold pressed juice' from local vegetables

In regard to the aggressive agriculture, the project has provided support to three major targets: (1) sales channel expansion for local agricultural products, (2) research and development of new technology related to agriculture and stock farming and (3) new farmers.

In the aggressive agriculture, the Koshi Agricultural Energy Project initially approached the development and marketing of "cold pressed juice" using vegetables produced in Koshi City (Fig. 8).

Fig. 8: Cold pressed juice planned and commercialized (source: Shizen Energy)

In August 2015, Shizen Energy financed EJ (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo), which produces, processes and sells agricultural products, to help the company manufacture cold pressed juice and develop delivery stores. "Cold pressed" is the technique to press and extract juice from vegetables and fruits while limiting heat generation. Juice and soup made by this method are characterized by their properties that make it easy to ingest the nutrients and enzymes of the ingredients.

EJ purchased carrots, tomatoes, Japanese leeks, yuzu kosho and so on directly from the producers in Koshi City and sold the products made from these foods at its two stores selling cold pressed juice and soup in Tokyo. In this project, EJ has continued to develop new products since fiscal 2016.