Speedy NEWS

The Future of Nanjo, Okinawa: The Holy Grail of Ecotourism & Agritech


Chat with Mr. Chobin Zukeran, the mayor of Nanjo, Okinawa
◆Progress Report of Speedy Resort.
The vision is to develop Okinawa to overtake Hawaii on the market as a tourist destination.
Both the land area and population of Okinawa main island (1,199 km square = 1.22 million people) are similar to Oahu (1,545 km square = 0.91 million people).
With the decline of overseas travel due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is believed that the surplus demand will overwhelm what Okinawa is able to offer. Additionally, he has proposed the development of ecotourism (resorts that allow tourists to relish in nature instead of just luxurious hotels) that leverages on the rich nature and historical ruins of the Ryukyu Empire to accelerate growth in the southern parts (Nanjo) to surpass the northern parts (Onna village).
↓Nanjo, Okinawa Tourist Attractions 2021 version
◆Speedy Farm Concept
Desire to promote a new form of agriculture (agritech) that leverages on the fertile soil of southern Okinawa.
As many agricultural lands cannot be converted to residential land, while many traditional farmers are aging lack successors, large swathes of farmland are being left uncultivated.
There is a need to draft new standards for farmland matching. It is understandable that owners are reluctant to lease the land out to newcomers, but just letting them grow wild is also unproductive.
The value of farmland is not in the land itself but in the crops they produce. If the land can be used to establish a new agricultural industry using new technology, it will also accelerate land matching. So, we will create that pattern of success (into a module) on our farmlands first.
Once the module is successfully established, instead of charging low idle farmland lease rates, they can charge a licensing fee on the revenue of the produced crops. This will help to create a new community comprised of experienced and knowledgeable farmers and newcomers.
To realize this vision, the agricultural business model must be changed. Labor costs make up most of the expenses in farming. It is necessary to use robotics to eliminate labor costs. AI sensors make harvesting more efficient. Additionally, feeding data about the harvested crops to deep learning systems can improve quality and optimize the harvest timing.
Furthermore, gene editing can be used to create improved cultivars that ward off pests. Moreover, the distribution of the farm produce does not have to be through traditional auctions and D2C (Direct to Customer Sales) services like “Nouchoku” and “Pocket Marche” can be tried instead to improve the quality of products using consumer feedback.
We can learn from countries like Israel and China to find out more about these modern farming methods. I will also do my best to learn and make Speedy Farm a success.
I discussed the 2 subjects above with the mayor.
In particular, I was extremely happy that we found common ground in our perspective on agriculture. He said he wanted me to give a lecture at community colleges and the like. I will continue to do my best!