Through SATREPS (1), PS Solutions, an IT solution provider, is participating in CIAT (2), a project developing rice crops and farming systems optimized for Colombia.

e-kakashi, an Agricultural Internet of Things(IoT)

Why is an IT company and not an agricultural or chemical company being tasked to solve food problems in Colombia? The answer is e-kakashi, a powerful IoT tool designed by PS Solutions. e-kakashi collects environmental data and integrates it with farming data to give crop growers the best solutions to a wide range of field conditions.

“We must listen to the crops”, says e-kakashi developer Dr. Takashi Togami, “to know when they are thirsty or sick. Like children, with special attention and care, plants will grow, bloom and produce well.”

In partnership with Hitachi, Ltd., e-kakashi is combined with sensors that can measure environmental factors that influence crops, such as air temperature and humidity, soil temperature and moisture, and solar irradiance. Data is collected at a specific field and combined with previous scientific data about cultivation to create ek-Recipe, a tool Dr. Togami describes as a science-based e-farming manual. ek-Recipe helps the user optimize cultivation. Another tool of e-kakashi, ek-Navi, supports decision making for the cultivation.

The benefits of using e-kakashi were demonstrated in 2016 for the cultivation of Koshihikari, a rice crop grown in Japan, Australia and the United States. ek-Navi calculated that an accumulated temperature of 1000°C upon panicle initiation would prompt harvesting. In combination with this prediction, ek-Navi calculated the best crop would come with an accumulated irradiance over 750 MJ when the crop is ripening. The powerful and unique

feature of e-kakashi is its capability to turn collective farming experiences into indices for optimal cultivation.

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Reduction of Environmental Footprint

However, e-kakashi goes beyond simple cultivation management. It also contributes to solving environmental problems such as unstable water supplies and greenhouse gas emission such as methane. Controlling water levels during plant growth could have a significant effect on methane emissions (3). In collaboration with Tokyo Electron Device Limited, PS Solutions has been developing e-kakashi to track and calculate optimal water levels at each phase of plant growth as a way to both enhance agriculture productivity and reduce methane emissions. “Agriculture has a great negative impact on the global environment. Integrating scientific knowledge and technology can minimize that impact and still realize sustainable agriculture,” says Dr. Togami.

Plants Suitable for Local Environments

PS Solutions was invited to take part in the Colombia project by Dr. Manabu Ishitani (a senior scientist at CIAT) and Dr. Satoshi Ogawa (JICAexpert (4)). In this project, e-kakashi is contributing to the development of cultivation technology for rice crops most suitable to the Colombian environment. With the help of e-kakashi, a new variety of rice whose roots grow diagonally to reach water-rich soil was made using marker assisted selection (5) and cultivation technology. The benefits of this effort are not only more nutritious and environmentally-friendly crops, but also jobs for locals. “Besides better farming, we see our technology as a way to fight poverty with smart agriculture,” says Dr. Togami.



  1. SATREPS, Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development, a research program jointly run by JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency), AMED (Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development), and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).
  2. CIAT, International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
  3. Minamikawa, K., Tokida, T., Sudo, S., Padre, A., Yagi, K. (2015) Guidelines for measuring CH4 and N2O emissions from rice paddies by a manually operated closed chamber method. National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Tsukuba, Japan
  4. JICA, Japan International Cooperation Agency
  5. Y. Uga et al., “Control of root system architecture by DEEPER ROOTING 1 increases rice yield under drought conditions.”
    Nature Genetics 45, 1097-102 (2013).

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