NTT DoCoMo is developing a system to estimate shipments and sales of vegetables in alliance with Hitachi East Japan Solutions. The system is designed to allow farmers to judge the most suitable shipping date using information on the growing condition of agricultural products and sales forecast made by retailers. They have already started the substantiative experiment in the Tohoku district with the cooperation from local farmers. They provided about 15 farmers with tablet PCs, and the farmers enter the growing conditions of vegetables like spinach.
Cloud computing is used to manage the information entered by the farmers. The wholesale market analyzes yields and sales trends of retailers including supermarkets, and the analysis is transmitted to the farmers to help them work out shipping plans in accordance with change of the demand. In the Shikoku district, NTT DoCoMo has already started to operate a system that farmers can get orders for their agricultural products via their smartphones and tablet PCs in alliance with a local third-sector company. A research company predicts that the IT-supported agriculture market will grow from 6 billion yen in 2010 to 60 billion yen in 2020.
The concept of NTT DoCoMo’s agriculture support system