On January 8th, 2016, H.E. Ritter N. Díaz, Ambassador of Panama in Japan, attended the signing ceremony of the Agreement of Academic Exchange between Panama University (UP) and Panama Technological University (UTP) with Chiba University. The purpose of these agreements is to train Panamanian students and researchers in the innovative agricultural production, called Plant Factory or Vertical Farming, using controlled-environment agriculture technology.
This signing ceremony was held in Chiba University with the presence of Dr. Takeshi Tokuhisa, President of Chiba University, Dr. Makoto Watanabe, Vice-President for Education and International Affairs, Dr. Michiko Takagaki, Vice-President for Public Relations, Dr. Toshitaka Yamaguchi, Director of Japan Plant Factory Associacion, Prof. Toru Maruo, Professor of the Faculty of Horticulture, and Mr. Ryo Tabohashi, Director of the International Affairs Division, and from the Panamanian side, Ambassador Diaz, Dr. David De Leon, Economic Counsellor of the Embassy of Panama in Japan, Dr. Rodrigo Ernesto Cambra, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Science of Panama University and Dr. Humberto Rodríguez, Director of Research of Panama Technological University.
These agreements emerged in the context of the 1st International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture, held in Panama City on May, 2015, with the support of the Embassy of Panama in Japan, Chiba University, Panama University, Panama Technological University, National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation of Panama, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama and Urban Farms, which counted on the participation of scientists, researchers, businessmen, students and producers in farm industry.
These exchange programs consist of two types of training on controlled-environment agriculture, one training with a term of 70 days and another with a term of 10 days. In the training of 70 days, two Panamanian students will participate (one from UP and one from UTP), meanwhile, four students will participate (two from UP and two from UTP) in the 10 day training, both in Chiba University, with the purpose of leaning about Plant Factory. The eight Panamanian students and professors from both universities arrived at Japan on January 6th to start the training in this field. This is the first academic exchange agreement between a Panamanian university with a Japanese university.
Furthermore, this agreement includes the dispatch of 5 Japanese students of Chiba University to Panama, in order to participate in field studies of Plant Factory as well as hydroponic and traditional agriculture.
The controlled-environment agriculture consists on various techniques of agricultural production, that includes Plant Factory, which is an emergent system to cultivate vegetables and fruits inside of specially designed buildings with controlled environment. The plants are cultivated in vertically arranged platforms, fed with nutrient by hydroponic method and illuminated with artificial light in order to facilitate the plant photosynthesis. These production systems protect the vegetables and fruits from the inclemency of the weather, as well as from bacterias, insects and other kinds of pests that affect the products in traditional agriculture.
It’s important to point out that Chiba University is one of the pioneers universities in the research and development on the field of Plant Factory.
- Ambassador Diaz, expressing his gratitude for the collaboration of Chiba University
- Second from right：Dr. Takeshi Tokuhisa, President of Chiba Universitym, signing the agreements
- From left: Dr. Rodrigo Ernesto Cambra, Ambassador Diaz, Dr. Tokuhisa, Dr. Humberto Rodríguez
- The participants in the signing ceremony