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Chitose Agriculture: Cultivating a Taste of Japan in Southeast Asia

In a world where culinary excellence meets sustainability, the journey of Chitose Agriculture unfolds as a tale of innovation and passion. As readers of The Ladies Cue, you’re invited to embark on a gastronomic adventure that transcends borders, as we unveil the story behind Chitose’s endeavor to bring Japan’s finest produce straight to your table. From the sun-kissed fields of Southeast Asia to the fertile lands of Japan, join us as we explore how Chitose Agriculture is not only redefining the concept of farm-to-table but also championing a vision of quality, sustainability, and diversity in the heart of Singapore and beyond.

Japanese agriculture firm, Chitose Agriculture, is partnering with our local farms to deliver the freshest  produce directly to your table. Since its establishment in 2016, Chitose uses its Japanese farming knowledge and expertise to provide Singaporean and Malaysian growers with the technical capabilities and know-how to farm quality fruits and vegetables on home soil. To date, their produce are distributed and sold via more than 36 retail outlets in Singapore and Malaysia. The company has also attracted numerous investors, with notable names including IHI, ENEOS, Shiseido, NGK, Mitsui Chemicals and Amano Enzyme.

Chitose Produce

Chitose Produce

Why is this important?

Singapore was recently named a Blue Zone 2.0, where people live longer and lead healthier lives. However, according to a survey by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Health Promotion Board (HPB), the prevalence of obesity has also risen, from 10.5 per cent between 2019 and 2020 to 11.6 per cent between 2021 and 2022. The increase was mainly observed among residents aged 18 to 29 and 40 to 59.

With that in mind, Chitose curates a selection of high-quality and carefully cultivated vegetables, ensuring that their produce can nourish your body and soul. Their proprietary fertiliser blends utilise biological solutions instead of relying on chemical pesticides, enabling the production of abundant vegetables, fruits and nutrients, preserving the original taste of the crops.

Chitose Agriculture's Produce

Chitose Agriculture’s Produce

The Ladies Cue X Chitose Media Interview

Spokesperson Attribution: Nickaila Hau, Regional Relationship Manager of Chitose Agriculture

  1. How the brand made its way from Japan to the farms of Singapore?

As Chitose Agriculture’s reputation grew, we recognised a growing demand for premium Japanese offerings on a global scale. The team saw the significance of the SEA region’s constant sunlight, providing optimal conditions for year-round photosynthesis crucial for plant growth. Our journey began in 2016 when we pioneered strawberry cultivation in Cameron Highlands, leveraging the region’s climate and advanced farming technologies to harvest strawberries 365 days a year. Initially, we reached out to potential partners by sending product samples and fostering relationships with like-minded collaborators who share our vision.

Chitose Agriculture's Produce

Chitose Agriculture’s Produce

The journey led us to Singapore, where there is a demand for high-quality Japanese-grown fruits and vegetables. With its vibrant culinary scene and discerning taste buds, Singapore emerged as a natural fit. And so, from the strawberry fields in Cameron Highlands to the lush urban farms of our partners in Singapore, Chitose made its way, driven by a passion, to deliver not just produce but an experience — a slice of Japan’s agriculture, nurtured under the sun of Southeast Asia.

Chitose Agriculture, Strawberry Farm

Chitose Agriculture, Strawberry Farm

2. The inspiration behind deriving the farming techniques, and how they work to grow the best quality Japanese produce outside Japan? 

The inspiration comes from our vision which is the ‘Thousand Year Initiative’. This drives us to ensure future generations can savour the same high-quality, delicious produce we enjoy today. Inspired by the meticulous farming methods of Japanese farmers, we prioritise both produce quality and optimal soil conditions. Our commitment to agricultural sustainability includes innovative practices such as using natural predators instead of 100% chemical pesticides, employing a computerised dripping system to prevent contamination, and embracing ‘Integrated Pest Management’ with biological herbicides and pesticides. We aim to foster a sustainable environment that preserves the essence of our produce for generations to come.

3. Chitose’s vision for the future: championing quality, sustainability and diversity

Chitose’s vision for the future is all about the good vibes! In a world where consumers seek not only products but values, we are committed to delivering nothing short of high-quality produce. We envision a future where sustainability is not just a buzzword but a way of life. From farm to table, Chitose aims to set the standard for eco-friendly and ethical practices in agriculture. Recognising the richness that diverse agricultural practices bring, we are dedicated to fostering a varied and vibrant range of crops. 

In essence, Chitose’s vision is not just about growing produce; it’s about cultivating a way of thinking. 

4. How Chitose’s model of adopting farming techniques will impact food security in Singapore and the Southeast Asia region? 

Chitose’s innovative approach to farming techniques holds substantial implications for food security in Singapore and the Southeast Asia region. Acknowledging the challenges posed by limited land availability in Singapore, we have strategically extended our operations to neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. This ensures comprehensive control over our farming processes and plays a pivotal role in bolstering the four dimensions of food security: Availability, Access, Utilisation, and Stability.

By establishing farms in proximity to the region, our focus on the first three dimensions ensures a consistent supply of fresh produce, supporting year-round growth in the tropical climate. This stability is crucial, especially during fluctuations like those in the rainy season.

Our farming methods prioritise safeguarding land and soil for continuous, safe harvests — differing from conventional farming that necessitates new land once soil is depleted. In Singapore, we collaborate with local farms, sharing our techniques and supporting their economic sustainability, thereby contributing to overall agricultural sustainability encompassing both agricultural and economic facets. 

 

About CHITOSE GROUP

CHITOSE GROUP is a family of biotechnology companies operating mainly in Southeast Asia and Japan to leave the environment where they can live in abundance for over a thousand years.
CHITOSE GROUP has strength in technology of producing materials utilising microalgae, microorganisms and animal cells. We are working together with various government bodies and companies to expand our business and achieve bioeconomic society.

 

Read More by Founder of The Ladies Cue, Jenny Lee

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