“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between,
and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
IEAS Field trip in this 2016 fall semester we visited many interesting places in Yamanashi Prefecture. Kofu city a capital of Yamanashi prefecture is located near the center of Honshu, the main island of Japan, and only one hour from Tokyo. Surrounded by high mountains and rich in nature, this prefecture has various popular products like fruits, kaiki (traditional weaving of silk textiles), crystal crafting, and the production of washi, or Japanese paper, are all very popular. Main fruits of Yamanashi prefecture are grapes, peaches and plums. The ranked as the best and most beautiful place in Japan, and the wines made of Koshu grapes are very popular. IEAS Field trip destinations are Fujiki reservoir and control center in Fuefukigawa area, irrigation pumping station and solar power plants, Yamanashi Fruit Tree Experiment Station and Fuefukigawa Fruits Park, Green Farm Yashiro, which is agricultural corporation market, and we visit Manns Winery Co.,Ltd.
Sustainable Agriculture in Yamanashi Prefecture
The explanation given by the guides about the object of a field trip give us more comprehensive knowledge about sustainable agriculture in this area. Local people eat local products is suitable program to develop in rural area. Local foods is support responsible land development. When we buy local foods, we support local farmers. This is gives farmer and community a reason to stay and build this place together. Cultivation with local wisdom was decreased the overall usage of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers and increases biodiversity in our local ecosystem.
Eat local food movement can make society care about environment. It is safer not to put all our eggs in one basket. Food stability and safety is depending of regional, national and international system distribution and so more aspect (natural disaster, politic, etc.). If something wrong with this system, local people will difficult to access food. It is a good thing which the dependence on imports product or another region from the outside is reduced and start empowering local potential. Local food system make people care how animals and plants are treated before put them in our body, nothing beats visiting the farm and talking to the farmer.
Fujiki reservoir in Fuefukigawa area (Yamanashi) center is support 4,145 ha that majority as Fruit plant area. This facility founded in June 17, 1970. Fuefuki riverbank upland irrigation project aims to enhance the quality of agricultural production, thereby to stabilize the living conditions of farm households. Control office at main facilities that installed is need to be update and connected with internet. So, it is give the real-time condition of water. Staff or policy maker can monitor it from everywhere. Water from this area accessed farmer by request 60 days before due date. The final decision about farmer request is by a board meeting.
Irrigation pumping station and solar power plants, is one of the interesting place of Governmental Stock Management Project of agricultural facilities in Fuefukigawa area. Because some land is above the reservoir, the solar power plants was built to reduce the maintenance fee of the agricultural facilities irrigation. The other purpose is to contribute reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. Solar panels as power generation system used to supply energy in this installation project. The aims project is saving of electric charge. Estimated income from power generation total is JPY 7,605,000.
Green Farm Yashiro, Agricultural Corporation Market.
Green Farm Yashiro is a farmers’ market directly selling their products. The shop is managed by the farmers themselves and they are members of an agricultural corporation. They get 50% benefit from the product price. The sharing benefit is 85% to farmers, and the shop gets 15%. They not only sell the proper products but also processed foods, for instance; jam using non-standardized fruits. I found this place like Green Farm Yashiro in Shiga prefecture, 2 hours from Kyoto. The name shop is Ohminchi Farmer Market. They are not only sell a raw product but also open the restaurant with so many menus. We came here because they want us (as Moslem) to give feedback 20 new menus to promote halal food. Hopefully, this place can appeal tourist to coming, especially from the Muslim country. I think farm market like Green Farm Yashiro can be big and always developing because Japanese people very understand about the local market, local product and government give support in regulation and facility. A concept like this is good to implemented in my country. The farmer can get more benefit with this market and consumers more care about agricultural product around their living.
Yamanashi Prefecture Fruit Tree Experiment Station
As a prefecture-level research institute, Yamanashi Fruit Tree Experiment Station is fairly large with a contribution which has been recognized by the local community. In April 2016, the Institute is restructured fruit trees technology-supported dissemination reliable staff. Has a very long history of its creation, namely since 1937. When the grapes in Yamanashi region received a large freezing damage. The years after that, the research station is constantly evolving to set up a fruit tree technology dissemination section, also established the raw grape breeding department.
The division of Yamanashi Fruit Tree Experiment Station are;
- Administration Division,
- Breeding unit,
- Cultivation unit,
- Environment division, and
- Agricultural innovation support center
The grape breeding department is established in April 2006. This part has been conducting research on breeding of table grape. With the modern technology in tissue culture and biotechnology, this department aims are to find new cultivars of table grape, new breeding of brewing for the grape, breeding of deciduous fruit trees new species and study on the tissue culture and gene analysis. Researcher in this experiment station has been conducting research on the development of wine grape varieties. From the cultivation of the fruit until the quality of the wine consistently conducted a test. They want to foster excellent varieties of wine grape adopted by farmers.
Expert System in Agriculture
Today, mobile devices are used by everyone, including the rural farmers in developing country. Previously, planters used to depend on showers and on age-old solutions for a cultivation of better crops. Farmers, using these conventional methods are very slow and unreliable. The disease attacks and lack of information funds, crops are spoiled in the field. In Yamanashi prefecture, researcher build expert system specially in grape cultivation to solve grape grower.
The most interesting part in this experiment station is developing application in android and IPhone to solve grape farmer problem. The big challenge government is to bridging researcher with the new technology that have been founded to farmer as user. Farmer usually have field problem that suddenly come in their field. Actually, most of the problem can be solve because some issue is repetition the last problem or a few years ago. However, some trivial disease is arising and when it did not get attention as soon as possible, it can be endemic and very damaging. On another hand, now with easily access to global transportation, plant diseases can move between countries and between regions very quickly.
Grape fungus disease is one of grape disease that usually attacking the grape growers. A major problem in one area may not exist in another. Local knowledge will help farmer tremendously. The two most effective means of disease control are good canopy management and preventative fungicides treatments. Waiting until fungus appears is usually too late. This information is an easy read short and to the point with excellent images. Application to share information and give the solution in agriculture is very popular and researcher always try and develop the best and user friendly.
Expert system is long term research because data need to be upload gradually, year by year. Farmer need to get training to easy use this technology and always give feedback.
Figure. Fruit Museum and beautiful scenery in the Yamanashi Prefecture near Mount Fuji, Japan. Photo. hanif.doc
Yamanashi Fruit Park
Yamanashi Fruit Park is a beautiful place. We can see modern architecture combine with fruit tree and beautiful garden. In this area, we can find tree glass domes. Fruit Museum can be found in the largest of the domes, the fruit museum focuses on the history of fruit growing all over the world. We can trace the spread of fruit varieties through the ancient world. There is an emphasis on the history of peaches and grapes in Yamanashi. Gardeners and fruit lovers will be particularly interested in the exhibits and displays of the fruit museum. Yamanashi Fruit Park facility is for business, sales of local agricultural products, specialty products, exchange business of the city and local residents, such as farming experience tours and agricultural guidance. They update information every month about an interesting event in this area. The student can choice the schedule with an appropriate subject. For instance, if they want to learn about grape pruning, they must come in December.
Manns Winnery want to deliver a high-quality wine that was made in carefully. Manns Winnery total cultivate grape and brewing technology to the Japanese culture. They have “quality principle” the concept and raw materials. “Japanese original wine” is a unique wine Japan to match the preferences and taste of Japanese. Beside make a premium wine, they produce 100% grape juice. The taste very delicious and very suitable, it’s very appropriate to the tongue of people in general.
Discussion: Comparing with Indonesia
In Indonesia, we have several provinces like Yamanashi that focus to develop agricultural and agroindustry product. Batu City in East Java Province have similar condition, but we did not have Irrigation system like in Fuefuki Riverbank Upland Irrigation. Majority Irrigation system in my country still conventional to prevent floods and store water because we have rainy season 4-6 month. Gunungkidul district, Yogyakarta Province is barren area. Actually, there are so many ground water under this place. None of the tested waters is matched the proper drink water quality. It seems that the sanitary question on the background of the shortage situation on the water supply side has a lower priority for the population and for the public administration. The Institute for Water and River Basin Management (IWG) of the Karlsruhe University initiated a project, aiming to support cave water over a regenerative hydro power. One of the possible technological approaches was tested within the framework of this German-Indonesian cooperation in the Gua Bribin cave. I was come to this place twice and saw how this project give many benefit to society. And now another project continues to build in different village.
Yamanashi Fruit Experiment Station with Yamanashi Fruit Park is the good combination to be dissemination place not only to farmer, but also Japanese society. The facility in this place very complete with the beautiful scenery. We have same Research institute that have main task to research in grape. But we just collecting the germplasm of grape. Research about tissue culture and field cultivation did not get the attention because government focus to invest money in strategist commodity, the problem in developing country. Research fund is big issue to developing country like Indonesia.
Grape in Indonesia only can be cultivated in the limited region. We have biggest area grape in Bali Island. In the beautiful area of Singaraja (North Bali) in Buleleng Regency, Hatten Wines owns and harvests over 34.5 hectares’ worth of succulent grapes. With over 14 years of development and improvement, the vineyards of Hatten Wines have already reached the maturity of vines of other new world wines. The North East of Bali has long been a grape growing area and Hatten Wines have found this region suitable, owing to the abundance of sunshine, clear mountain water and rich volcanic soil found in the area.
Researchers in Indonesian Citrus and Subtropical Fruits Research Institute (ICSFRI) does same project as expert system like Yamanashi Fruit Tree Experiment Station but we focus in Citrus. The problem of expert system in my opinion still same, we must have big data to process input from user and give output that suitable for user. Expert system that we build now still like electronic book. We are need long-term research to make it user friendly. In my imagination, farmer only take a picture and upload to system, and several second later the analyses running and give a solution to farmer. Hopefully, the accuracy of the solution is reaches 99%.
Field trip by IEAS TUAT gives me a broader view that how we should be grateful to God. Indonesia lands very fertile and agricultural products grew well. Of course, by applying what is already done Japan in Yamanashi, farmer productivity will be increase. Japan and Indonesia have a similar condition, limited land with a big population and volcano mountains. Agricultural product markets developed as in Green Farm Yashiro making the community more self-sufficient in their food. Farmers in my country will be better if we create a groups market or organization like Yamanashi farmer did to have the strong bargaining power.