Who we are
The mission of AGRIST is to spur innovation in the agricultural industry and tackle global agricultural challenges for the future of mankind.
We are a venture company that has gathered experts who share a vision – Solving issues of agricultural labor shortages through harvest automation via robots equipped with AI capabilities. Our company’s agricultural harvest robots will allow farmers to boost their profits by more than two folds. The result will be an agricultural industry that is sustainable over the next 100 years.
What we do
We are involved in the development of robots capable of harvesting agricultural produce and the loan of these robots to farmers. The initial expenses for setting up a harvest robot on a farm is around 1.5 million yen, and the farmer will be charged 10% of the total sales of agricultural produce harvested by the robot.
Our future plans include the development of horticultural facilities specially tailored for robots and conducting packaged sales to China and India among other countries. Solar power will be harnessed to power these facilities to allow for horticulture that is friendly to the environment. Data obtained from harvest robots will be analyzed by AI and utilized for tackling existing agricultural challenges.
・The average age of Japanese farmers is 67 years old (of whom fewer than half are expected to be around in 15 years’ time)
・Insufficient manpower for “harvesting” (farmers spend more than 50% of their time on harvesting operations)
・Operational pressure as a result of low yields (farmers with an agricultural income that is negative or less than 1 million yen account for 60% of the entire industry at present)
・Spreading of pests due to inadequate on-site environment management (the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has commissioned agricultural laboratories in each prefecture to conduct research to facilitate the early detection of pests)
Farmers are mired in a vicious cycle where they are exposed to the anxiety of labor shortages and the risk of pests as they are unable to nurture the personnel required for production management, which in turn leads to their inability to expand their scale of production.
・Enhance harvest yields by more than 20% with automated harvest robots
・Reduce part-time labor costs by 50%
・Manage the environment within the cultivation site and detect diseases early
・Improve services promptly by stationing our research laboratory adjacent to farms
・Jointly develop robots with farmers that serve as directors of local JA cooperatives
・Maintain low costs through the production of inexpensive, no-frills, and simple robots
・Create suspended robots that move along wires and are not subject to the stress of ground movements (international patent pending)
Representative Director and Chief Executive Officer: Junichi Saito
Junichi Saito was in charge of music distribution services at an IT venture company in Silicon Valley, United States. After returning to Japan, he founded a design company in Omotesando, Tokyo, and possesses an excellent track record in handling design projects for major companies and government agencies. Following the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake of 2011, he established an NPO (incorporated in 2015) with the mission of “solving local issues through business.” He is involved in the training of entrepreneurs across Japan while simultaneously serving as an instructor at Keio University. In April 2017, he was appointed as the representative director of the local trading firm “Koyu Foundation” established by Shintomi Town Hall. He contributed to the raising of donations valued at around 5 billion yen through the development of a brand of lychee that sells for 1,000 yen per fruit and a hometown tax which harnesses local agricultural specialty products. In December 2018, he was featured by the Prime Minister’s Office as an outstanding example of regional revitalization in the country. In 2019, he founded AGRIST Inc. to develop agricultural harvest robots in order to tackle local agricultural challenges. He has participated in the Innovation Masters Series at Stanford University, completed graduate studies at SBI University (MBA, major: entrepreneurship), and is a visiting lecturer at Keio University.
Director and Chief Operating Officer: Yoshihiko Takahashi
Director and Chief Technology Officer: Hiroki Hata
Executive Officer and Chief Robot Development Officer: Katsumi Takatsuji
Technical Advisors: Yutaka Kaizu (University of Tokyo, Agricultural Robotics Research), Takashi Takimoto (National Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu College, Associate Professor)
Development Advisors: Nozomi Fukuyama (JA Koyu Director, Bell Pepper Farmer), Taichi Inomata (Shintomi Certified Farmers’ Liaison Council Chairman, Cucumber Farmer)
Intellectual Property Rights Attorney: Tomohiko Kogi (Socidea Intellectual Property Office)
Legal Counsel: Tatsuya Kotaka (AZX Professionals Group)
About Us & Contact
- Company Name
- AGRIST Inc.
- Tomita-higashi 1-47-1, Shintomi-cho, Koyu-gun, Miyazaki, JAPAN 889-1412
- Junichi Saito (Representative Director)
- October 24th, 2019
- Business Description
- Agricultural robot development, AI, and software development