Seeding Innovation: Opportunities for Foreign Companies in Japan’s Agritech Industry

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The intersection of agriculture and technology, known as agritech, is emerging as a transformative force in Japan, offering solutions to challenges posed by an aging agricultural workforce and rising production costs. In 2020, the average age of individuals engaged primarily in agriculture in Japan was approximately 68 years old, and the number of people involved in farming is on a downward trend. In response to these challenges, the Japanese agritech industry is ripe with opportunities for foreign companies and organizations to bring innovative solutions to the market. This demand is fueled not only by the need to enhance efficiency but also by the desire to make agriculture more appealing to younger generations.

Japan’s agritech market, estimated at over US$350 million in 2023, is expected to double by 2026. This growth is driven by factors such as the continued decline of the agricultural workforce and advancements in telecommunications, including the widespread adoption of 5G technology. The market encompasses a diverse range of technologies, from sales and resource management platforms to drones, robots, and systems aiding cultivation and animal husbandry.

Automation for Efficiency

The average age of Japanese farmers highlights the urgency to automate agricultural processes. Robotic tractors, developed by companies like Yanmar Holdings, have shown substantial decreases in the time required for tasks such as plowing and hilling. This presents an opportunity for foreign companies with expertise in automation to collaborate and introduce advanced technologies.

Yanmar Holdings’s robot tractor working in the field (left). Control tablet for operation and settings (right). Source: Yanmar Holdings

Resource Management Platforms

Agrimedia’s “Agrinavi” platform is a notable example, aiming to simplify human resource management for farms and attract a younger workforce. Foreign companies specializing in digital platforms and HR solutions could find opportunities to collaborate or offer similar innovative services tailored to the Japanese market.

Data-Driven Solutions

The use of data analytics, sensors, and cloud technology in cultivation and animal management systems is on the rise. Foreign companies with expertise in these areas can explore partnerships to enhance precision farming practices, contributing to more sustainable and efficient agricultural processes.

Global Collaboration

Japan is actively seeking international collaboration in its agritech sector. Events like Food Tech Week in Osaka and Japan Argi Innovation Week in Kumamoto or Chiba provide ideal platforms for foreign companies to network, showcase innovations, and explore business-to-business opportunities. These events facilitate connections with farmers, wholesalers, local government representatives, and potential partners.

The Japanese government’s proactive stance towards collaboration with overseas firms, as outlined in its “Plan to Promote the Establishment of Global Food Value Chains,” opens avenues for international investment and partnerships. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) seeks to expand Japanese food and agriculture firms’ overseas business operations by encouraging joint ventures with foreign entities and fostering interaction between domestic and international businesses in the agritech sector.

While Japan’s agritech industry presents significant opportunities, foreign companies should be mindful of the market dynamics, cultural considerations, and the importance of tailoring solutions to local needs. Adapting products and technologies to align with Japanese preferences and addressing specific challenges faced by the agricultural community will enhance the chances of success in this market. Tractus can help provide you market entry assistance and relevant information and contacts to ensure that your transition into Japan is as smooth as possible.

Japan’s agritech industry stands at the forefront of technological innovation in agriculture, offering a promising landscape for foreign companies and organizations. By leveraging automation, resource management platforms, and data-driven solutions, international players can play a crucial role in shaping the future of agriculture in Japan and bolstering the nation’s food security. As the industry continues to evolve, collaboration between foreign innovators and the Japanese agritech ecosystem holds the key to sustainable and efficient agricultural practices in Japan.


Authored by

Kaitlin Smith is a former research analyst based in Japan.


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