Japanese junior high school students in the northeastern city of Akita have been given an opportunity to see how artificial intelligence can be applied to farming.
The Akita City Horticulture Promotion Center started holding the farming experience event last year to encourage people to take up the profession.
Seven second-year students from Iwamisamnai Junior High School took part in the event.
The center's officials explained the current situation and challenges facing agriculture. They include a labor shortage and the increasing age of farmers.
The students were taught that one of the solutions is "smart farming" that uses AI and ICT, or information and communication technology. The method is becoming popular among farmers in Akita Prefecture.
The students saw tomatoes cultivated using AI, and how their growth is controlled using a tablet computer.
AI is used to automatically supply the optimum amount of water and fertilizer to tomatoes, taking into account soil humidity and the weather forecast.
The students harvested tomatoes grown with the help of AI and compared them with those produced using conventional methods.
One student said, "We can see AI is used to manage fertilizer and moisture levels efficiently. I think it's a very good thing."
The head of the center said he would be happy if the experience leads to the students considering farming as a career.