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Japanese Government to Farm in Tsunami Disaster Zone

10 January 2012

JAPAN - The Japanese government plans to turn land which was swamped by the March 2011 tsunami into a robot-run farm for growing crops.

The Ministry of Agriculture foresees unmanned tractors working the 600 acre site, cultivating produce like rice, wheat, soybeans, fruit and vegetables. Robotic farmers will then box up the crops and send them around the country, reports national newspaper the Nikkei.

No pesticides will be used and, to reduce reliance on chemical fertilisers, carbon dioxide produced by machinery will be channelled back to crops to boost their growth.

The agricultural ministry has earmarked land in the Miyagi prefecture, 200 miles north of Tokyo for the project. The land was flooded by seawater in March, during the disastrous tsunamis that damaged the country early last year.

The tsunami was sparked by a 9.0-magnitude quake, and killed more than 19,000 people according to the latest figures. Thousands of acres of farming land was also destroyed, either by seawater depositing oil and salt on fields or by nuclear fallout from the nearby Fukushima plant.

Japanese technology companies such as Panasonic and NEC will be invited to join the project in a national bid to revive the agricultural sector. Fujitsu, Hitachi, Sharp, Yanmar, Ajinomoto and Ito-Yokado Co. are also expected to join, and raise around 10 billion yen (£84 million) in total.

The project will last for six years.

TheCropSite News Desk

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