Nosya-Fresh Produce Anytime, Anywhere


[SDGs CHALLENGE] Delivering Fresh Produce Anytime, Anywhere. A new form of agriculture pioneered by Nosya

<Interviewee Profile>
Nosya Corporation
CEO Mr. Ryuhei Okuno

From Sumoto High School in Hyogo Prefecture, he entered the Faculty of Agriculture at Tottori University.
After graduating Tottori University with a passion for food production in arid lands. After graduation, he studied policy management at the Graduate School of Green Environment and Landscape Management at University of Hyogo. Later, as an employee of Fukuoka Prefecture (agricultural position), he obtained certification as an agricultural extension advisor and served as a member of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NRI) advisory board. He then joined the Fukuoka Prefectural Testing and Research Institute, where he participated in research on paddy rice, wheat, and soybeans. He started his own business based off of Awaji Island, his hometown and a treasure trove of food.

This article is originally copyrighted by Life-Tech KOBE


SDGs Challenge – Since 2021, we support business development and overseas expansion of startups that take on the challenge of solving global-scale SDGs issues in order to create systems and products that create global social change pivoting from Hyogo Prefecture and Kobe City. The SDGs The “SDGs CHALLENGE” is a co-creation program that aims to solve global SDG issues. We will introduce the startups selected for this program one by one in Stories page of this website

The “Todokemono” unattended sales outlets, which are smart or latest versions of farmers’ “Staff-less store,” will be set up in condominiums, offices, and other places where people gather. In this project, (1) producers determine prices and shipping volume, (2) consumers handpick produce that they want, (3) producers’ specialty is communicated to consumers. The objective of the project is to simultaneously increase producers’ income and consumers’ happiness. It also aims to contribute to the reduction of food mileage by establishing these logistics within the region.

Working with many others to solve bigger problems

-Please Share why you decided to participate in the SDGs Challenge.

Mr. Okuno (hereafter, Okuno): Currently, we are promoting various initiatives in the agricultural sector in cooperation with Hyogo Prefecture, and our participation was prompted when we were introduced about this challenge by a personnel from the municipality. We have begun the development of an unattended agricultural product sales system called “Todokemono,” and in the course of discussions with prefectural government officials to further advance the agricultural sector, it was noted that my business was aligned and contributing to the SDGs. When I asked others about this program, I heard good things as an interesting community is forming around this challenge, hence I decided to participate.

-It is true that “agriculture” is closely intertwined with various areas of the SDGs.
Okuno: Yes, it is. As stated in the “Green Produce System Strategy” published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, I believe that area of SDGs and agriculture are close knitted. I am a graduate of the Faculty of Agriculture at Tottori University, where research on arid lands is very advanced, as my research was also based in this area. The more I researched, the more I felt the critical situation of Japan’s agricultural industry, which led me to my current business. I have some knowledge because of my academic background, yet I feel the lack of having an in-depth understanding and grasp of the critical situation of this whole world regarding the sustainability of agriculture. That is also what inspired me to be enlightened about this major issue by participating in this program

-That is quite inspiring. So, what is your approach to tackling agricultural issues?
Okuno: Currently, I provide consulting services to farmers and I farm in my farm as well. I was previously working in Fukuoka, but I did a U-turn and came back to Hyogo Prefecture. My initial plan was to simply start farming. However, after I shared my deep worry and care about the current challenges surrounding the agricultural field, I was pushed towards being an agricultural consultant. Rather than trying to solve the problems by starting a farming business myself, I was encouraged to help others along. Behind this decision was the wish to “save lives” that I have held since my childhood. Rather than trying to solve problems by farming on my own, it would be more effective to work with many farmers, which is more in line with my childhood wishes. On top of that, if I could work with more farmers, I could  even have a greater impact quicker than I had envisioned, and this is how I landed to my current project.

I will become an experiment myself to make it less challenging for others to take new initiatives

-What initiatives do you have in mind to make a bigger impact?
Okuno: One of the issues that is widely known is the lack of farmers. There is substantial drop in number of people taking up farming. If this trend continues, food production will become more difficult than ever before so will the cost of food. I believe it is important to promote “smart farming” before this situation progresses and becomes more serious. I continue to work with the prefectural government to promote this, but we would like to focus more than ever on the match making between the farming sites and supporting equipment. To promote these activities, I think it is also very important to enhance the “management sense” of farmers. To empower their business mindset, I think it is important to become able to explain how they should operate their farms. So I have bought new equipment and latest models ones to demonstrate the increase in income and the importance to invest in the equipment.  I want to demonstrate the advantage of integrating smart farming. You can say, we are operating our farm as a demonstration site for better farming operations, because I believe that I cannot give farmers a convincing explanation unless I have used the equipment myself and acquired results or profits.

–It sounds like you have lots to do to solve a lot of problems and to accomplish that vision
Okuno: That’s right. I think everyone hesitates to adopt something new at first, and even more so if they have no proof or case study. In this area, I will be the experiment, trying out various things, but for more farmers to use the system, it is important to have someone a leader figure farmer, who can lead the region. These leaders have many more thoughts and ideas about agriculture than I do, and I would like to cooperate with them to create a successful case study. Once the first successful cases are established, the hurdles to new initiatives will be lowered, and it will be easier for farmers to adopt them. Above all, we have been talking about solving problems in the “agriculture” industry, but the biggest problem farmers face is “distribution”. I would like to create an environment where farmers can buy fresh agricultural products anytime, anywhere in Japan by promoting the “TODOKEMONO” service.