Name Toyo Green Farm Co., Ltd.
Country Japan

Profile
Toyo Green Farm Co., Ltd., was spun off in 2011 from the affiliate company TOYO SHINYAKU Co., Ltd. as a company to grow and manage barley grasses. Our group company has been manufacturing health food and cosmetics in Japan and barley grass for powdered beverages called “Aojiru”, which has a large share in Japan in particular. The barley grass that we cultivate is used as the main raw material in Aojiru, a healthy drink developed in Japan, Aojiru is made from fruit and vegetables. Many people prefer Aojiru because it can easily supply the nutrients that are apt to be short in modern diets. In the United States it is called "Green Cocktail" and in recent years, Aojiru has spread around the world market.

Our fields for barley grass are one of the largest in Japan, and our cultivation business heavily relies on the cooperation with local contract growers. Despite the large age difference between the contract growers, we all share the same objective: to endorse continuous improvement for the local agricultural industry. As the area we cultivate is recognized as a world agricultural heritage, it is important for us to protect the environment and manage our activities as efficiently as possible. We also make full use of our IT system to efficiently manage the large number of fields we cultivate.

Toyo Green Farm Co., Ltd., was certified by GLOBALG.A.P. (Option1) for our directly managed fields in 2012 by SGS Japan Inc. Our barley grass is the first to be certified by GLOBALG.A.P. In 2013 we were certified for Option 2, thereby expanding into the field of contract farmers. In addition, we are making efforts to help all contract growers get certified.

Achievements

1. Organic Production

Right from the very start and over the last six years, we have been committed to organic farming. Organic cultivation, in the simplest terms, means to manage the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and the use of genetically modified seeds.

To sell a product as organic in Japan, it is necessary to comply with national laws under Japanese Agricultural Standards (called JAS Law) for organic agricultural products, and only those who meet this standard will be recognized as certified organic producers and operators. We were registered as a certified operator of organic agricultural products in 2006.

In addition to complying with the requirements set by JAS Law of the organic agricultural products, we had to build a management system that is in accordance with GLOBALG.A.P. We aim to reduce our environmental impact, and increase personal safety as well as food safety based on further scientific basis. With both the JAS Organic Standard and GLOBALG.A.P., we are committed to sustainable agricultural production activities.

2. Agricultural production activities in the world agricultural heritage

In 2013, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recognized the Aso region as the world agricultural heritage. The Aso region, where we have a huge number of fields and growers, has magnificent nature and the Mt. Aso caldera is one of the largest in the world. This beautiful view, clean air and water, must be protected and passed on to the next generation. The Aso region has well-drained soil made by volcanic ash called ‘andosol’. This natural resource is suitable for field crops such as barley grass.

In addition, abundant underground water is accumulated in the basement of the Aso region, giving healing to people visiting from all over Japan, providing drinking water of the city downstream (Kumamoto City with 73 million people).

In order to protect the blessings of this rich nature and the health of its people, we believe it is also our responsibility to reduce environmental impact, and engage in sustainable agricultural production activities in this Aso region. This has been integrated into our GLOBALG.A.P. System and has been highly praised by our local contract growers.

3. Community-based Resources - Use of horse manure compost

Agriculture in the Aso region has been taking place since the Yayoi period (3rd century BC – 3rd century AD), making use of horses in agriculture in the Heian period (8th century - 12th century). In the old days, horses were used for farming operations and horse manure compost has a history of use as an agricultural resource by the people of Aso. In our GLOBALG.A.P. System we are actively using compost horse manure, which has a rich fiber and helps in the formation of the crumb structure of the soil. This resource has lots of nutrients that help improve soil fertility. The application of horse manure compost not only improves the (physical, etc.) state of soil but is a community-based resource, which is a key system for the management of GLOBALG.A.P.

4. The use of IT and traceability

There are a large number of small fields in our GLOBALG.A.P. System. We have created a detailed map of each field, and a daily growth record of every field inside our scope. We centrally manage this using IT systems to efficiently process the enormous amount of data. In addition to our field data, we also collect information about the adjacent fields to prevent contamination, the influx of substances that harm the safety of our food, and the drift of pesticides, as well as monitor drug use and crop cultivation.

We also use GPS positioning to accurate locate the position of the plants in all the fields. We have also established a notice board for all the fields with a detailed map, to clear mark the fields that we own. When we harvest the barley grass, we attach a label to each container harvested, which clearly and visibly marks which fields we harvested and which crops we harvested from them. With these labels, we are able to trace when, where, and how we grew and harvested the crops, and by whom.

Due to the huge data management, we are using IT systems developed with the affiliate company (TOYO SHINYAKU Co., Ltd.). Based on the record of daily work that is sent by each producer, we centrally manage production history of each field, and we conduct activities to improve the efficiency of the farm management. Our IT system is built to respond quickly when trouble occurs.

5. Continuous improvement for now and future

A major issue in Japanese agriculture is the rising age of farmers and growers and a resulting increase of abandoned farmland. Some of the older growers do farm work that relies on experience, intuition and passed-on practices. In addition, growers give up growing due to a lack of adequate successors, or because they find no promising future in agriculture. Under these circumstances, by promoting the rational and scientific management that is based on GLOBALG.A.P., we are working to resolve these issues. Firstly, through various agreements with the local government, we are working on specific initiatives such as the cultivation of abandoned farmland and the provision of labor.

We are working on scientific farming with goals such as:

  • Regional conservation and maintenance of biodiversity.
  • Sustainable agriculture to maintain the health of the water, air and soil.
  • Agriculture with multiple functions such as the recharging function of the water resources and beautiful scenery.
  • Implementation of quality that safeguards consumer health.

In the future, for further development and innovation, to we aim to initiate the following initiatives:

  • Develop a more reliable cultivation management system.
  • Apply GLOBALG.A.P. Certification to crops other than barley grass.
  • Invest in research and development with regards the taste, functionality, and usability of our main material, Barley Grass.

GGN: 4050373921637