Activity Report

Activity Report of Open Application Course vol.47

Asian youth learn about sustainable efforts in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries and environmental technologies

Report from the Faculty of Agriculture and Marine Sciences, Kochi University

The SAKURA Exchange Program invited a total of 10 students from Kasetsart University/Khon Kaen University (Thailand), Hanoi University of Education (Vietnam), and University of Malaysia Sarawak (Malaysia).

image1 Group photograph during visit to Muroto Geopark

In this program, students learned about sustainable efforts in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries and environmental technologies extensively through experience. At the Nangoku-Field (farm) of Kochi University, they had opportunities to experience the solution culture system and mechanism of Japanese original fruit tomato cultivation, and taste the amazing sweetness of such tomatoes, etc. They also learned about rice post-harvesting as well as quality and distribution of rice. In addition, they visited Kochi Agricultural Research Center to see cutting-edge agricultural technologies to respond to global warming, including energy-saving greenhouse cultivation technologies, etc.

image2 After visiting the farm, they experienced rice-cake making with other foreign students

At the Reihoku-Field (experiment forest) of Kochi University, they observed the cutting down of trees using chainsaws and tree logging using processors, and participated in pruning work to improve the light environment in a planted forest. Although it was in the cold season, they enjoyed practical training with Japanese students. In the field of fisheries, they visited a whitebait processing factory equipped with the latest processing facilities.

image3 After visiting the whitebait processing factory, they enjoyed eating whitebait bowl and other whitebait dishes in an attached dining hall

In addition, as an advanced case of sixth sector industrialization, they visited the Umaji-mura Agricultural Cooperative of Kochi Prefecture to see production/processing/distribution of Yuzu (Citrus junos). They were impressed with the fact that the Umaji-mura Agricultural Cooperative of Kochi Prefecture, situated in a small village, deep in the mountains, which initially worked on developing a special channel for the market for Yuzu juice, is now equipped with the latest analytical instruments and is developing cosmetics made of Yuzu seed oil.

image4 At the Umaji-mura Agricultural Cooperative of Kochi Prefecture

For the use and conservation of natural resources, they visited Muroto Cape (UNESCO Global Geopark) and learned about geographical and geological features and activities of Geopark to conserve lifestyles and history of people deeply involved with such features while utilizing them as tourist attractions. At the Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical Garden, they observed how to make botanical specimens, visited a specimen storage unit and the Makino Library, etc., and learned about the close relationship between Japan and tropical countries through observation of the exhibition corner for medicinal herbs.

image5 At the Muroto Geopark Center, working on
puzzles exhibited for learning geological
image6 At the Kochi Prefectural Makino Botanical
Garden, listening intently to explanations
about medicinal herb specimens

As cutting-edge research in the field of environmental science, at the Center for Advanced Marine Core Research, Kochi University, they experienced stratum observation and identification using core sample models after receiving lectures to shed light on global environmental change using marine core samples and on international joint drilling research projects. And then, as the basis for using living marine resources, they experienced microscopic observation of marine microorganisms (microalgae).

image7 Experiencing stratum observation and identification using core sample models

In addition, during the program, Hisashi Kurokura, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, gave a lecture titled “Coastal Resource Management by Public Participation”. They found the viewpoint of how to utilize knowledge and technologies in solving problems in areas with weak local administration or community organizations quite fresh, and active questioning took place.

image8 Participants listening intently to a special lecture given by Hisashi Kurokura, Professo Emeritus of the University of Tokyo

On the last day of their stay in Kochi, presentations on accomplishments were held. At the presentations, students of Kochi University also reported the results of their overseas training, and both sides told stories of being amazed by lifestyles and cultural differences, etc. A barbecue party was given in the evening, further deepening exchanges.

image9 Presenting their accomplishments, they seemed a little nervous, but they all gave passionate presentations.

On the last day, they visited the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Tokyo. They looked through exhibition programs one after another with great interest.

image10 Trip to Tokyo to visit the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) on the last day

Many commented in questionnaires that they would like to study in Japan or come back to Japan as a researcher, indicating that participants gained good motivations.

This invitation further strengthened linkages with the above-mentioned four universities. By utilizing these linkages, we would like to actively promote various education/research projects through the agricultural science fields.