Satoshi Nagata of Sagri on Advocating Advanced Technology for Agriculture
By Alyzza Morelos
Business Development entails the process to nurture business opportunities. In business approach, sustainability will be able to meet the needs and maintain the balance between social, economic and environmental concerns through improving resources, operational efficiency and reputational benefits of the organization. A sustainable business strategy can make a positive impact through nourishing the human and natural resources while innovating products, leveraging the capabilities of the employees and protecting the image of the company. Businesses today need to build connections to attain market experience and gain flexibility for better opportunities. Sagri as a company, prioritizes the advancement of technology and to produce aid for environmental issues.
TechShake interviewed Satoshi Nagata as a representative of Sagri, he aspires to obtain measurable results towards achievement of their vision and also to bridge the gap of what Sagri is a company and what their company wants to be in the future.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
After graduating from the top private university in Japan, Waseda University where my major was Global Human Resource Management, I joined the Tokio Marine Nichido, an insurance company, which is one of the largest insurance companies in Japan. After that, I shifted my career from the Tokio Marine as a HR/New business management staff to run the management of my family business in my hometown, I returned to my hometown and then supported my father doing the nursery home and oriental medical acupuncture or Chinese massage therapy. Then as I aspire to be a global carrier in the emerging countries, I shifted my carrier to Bengaluru, India in August 2017.At the time I reached in Bengaluru, I was working as a Japanese sales manager for a logistics company in Bengaluru and took care of some major Japanese companies accounts. As Bengaluru is the biggest IT and startup city in India, so I gradually looked for the opportunity of the startup.. I shifted my career to Sagri in April 2019 over joining Sagri. My founder, Shunsuke Tsuboi, asked me to do a profession in Indian market. As of now, I am working as a representative for Sagri Bengaluru, India and a subsidy company in Bengaluru. And also I'm covering outside Japan in Sagri, that’s why I joined the TechShake. And also I have been seeking some other opportunity apart from India.
Can you give us a brief background since there is an uptrend of innovation and technology in agriculture? Can you give us a brief background of Sagri and share the core needs it fulfills? Also, how do you come up with the idea?
Our company name represents satellite big data analysis, AI machine learning, then GRID- it’s called polygon mapping which is our key concept. Let me briefly explain the market technology - the agriculture technology. You may be aware that there's a lot of satellite data providers inspired. Maybe that's the beginning of our industry history. So maybe everybody is just providing the satellite images or satellite data to an end user. But sometimes images are sometimes difficult to understand which we wanted to ease. That’s the point of the data analysis and reaching out to more core solution providers for farmers. We are using these technologies for solving social problems including the agriculture industry.
With the advancement of technology in agriculture, how has Sagri evolved?
In terms of agritech, a lot of players are into this destination, crop monitoring, pesticide monitoring, and also sometimes maybe supply chain management, like connecting farmers to farmers and consumers like that. And also our cutting edge point is using machine learning. Moreover, we are focusing on soil and most likely, one soil sample testing costs like $10 or $15, on average. Yet, if we use satellite images for testing, we can decrease it to one dollar which is something we like to do.
In your opinion, what kind of impact has Sagri had on society?
Everybody tends to do smart farming out fast. But if you’re aware, I suppose, the Philippines rice and Thailand rice is completely different and also India rice is also different here. In each proposal, in each crop cycle, region,resource and the soil, [there are different circumstances they have. So maybe one by one, one by one doing smart farming is very hectic and too much time spent. In order to establish a more nice smart farming, we are into the agriculture infrastructure that we like to make. In Japan, we are a member committee of the Minister of Agriculture, Japanese central government. We are committed to digital mapping for agri-commerce. In this entire scheme in the committee, we are supporting the constructor, one data brought home that will enable everybody to join and use it to make a nice insight or to make a greater benefit from agriculture. In the kind of data platform that we have, it’s our cutting edge point in agriculture technology. And also, not just in agriculture but also in infrastructure and also global warming. Now we can support the government and the corporates and the farmers in various and most efficient ways as satellite images are very broad in the support areas that we have. For this, we aim to see which home is vacant and which area is good for solar panels like that. In terms of global warming, we can support and estimate which area is a shelter and cowboy available which makes us want to do more social providing services.
This is our cutting edge point, and our understanding kind of the scenario. So our founder, Shusuke Tsuboi, a serial entrepreneur who launched a scientific education startup wants teaching drones or satellite images for mechanical engineering for students. And also, sometimes he has been in Africa or some emerging country which he noticed and realized that every child has a dream apart from agriculture yet nobody can’t realize this because of poor agriculture or less advanced technology in agriculture. That's why he’d like to support them with space technology or advanced technology through the creation of Sagri.
Can you share with us the key features of Sagri with its growing demand in agritech or a smile?
On a big picture, visualization is a big trend and a big demand from the market. Particularly, in Japan there have been suffering from aging and rapid decrease of population. Then this has an effect on what happens on farmers’ average age which is over 60 years old. As a result farmers tend to avoid farming and then they abandon farm land.This behaviour caused the burdenｓ of manual monitoring for farmland by local governments in Japan. That's why we are supporting the government, the work of the central government, such as the local government to detect which farmer is abandoned or not by using satellite imagery. This is one of the examples of digitization and also we are creating this kind of polygon mapping and making the visibility of the farmer. This portfolio mapping scheme by which India appreciated dearly. because they don't have much platform for detecting and understanding data. And also, in Singapore we suppose that the food traceability may be a future trend as they may want to know if the crop is safe or not, or who made the scope or what kind of fertilizer or what kind of chemicals to use by them probably like that because Singapore still relies on the huge amount of imported food from other countries.
Can you give us some of the most prominent challenges you face in growing sideways? And how did you overcome them?
I suppose Japanese rice, Thailand rice, Indian rice and those Philippine rice may be a big difference. Because their genetics is essentially different. Another challenge is how to cultivate and how to grow is also different. That's why we have a scheme or we have a protocol for the farmers. It will take sometime to do some proof of concept. In terms of Japanese results, they just look at all 100% match results with other countries. That's why sometimes it takes sometimes to take localization with each country. These are all little bit of a challenge.
With the current health crisis, or during this pandemic agriculture products or food supply, in general, has been rapidly growing in both offline markets and e-commerce. Can you share how Sagri are adapting in the new to the new normal? And how do you see Sagri in the next five years?
Maybe food traceability is getting a high program for everybody. In that case, maybe for the company’s processing in agriculture in the near future, maybe it'll look like art that everybody in the directory knows about the farmland activity by using satellite images where they can look like real time monitoring. Then, farmers can directly communicate with a company and other parties then look through dynamic pricing or some kind of demand and supply differences. And then more or less trace contamination so everybody can enjoy safe food. This can potentially give real time monitoring for consumers and we can as well suggest to the farmers, customers' trends such as less chemicals and having more organic and more environmentally friendly products. Additionally, we can create registration for the farmers, consumers, and also the corporate and the government which we are looking forward to establishing in the near future.
Can you give me a one line sentence that could describe Sagri?
Sagri is solving social problems by combining satellite data, AI/Machine learning, and GRID/Polygon mapping technology.
Sagri, together with their representative, Satoshi Nagata promotes sustainable economic development in the world with innovation for the farmers and to the consumers. Explore Sagri's integrated initiatives and objectives to protect natural resources and humankind here.