Hello, I’m Deguchi from Chitose.
I feel that with each passing month, we are having more and more topics about Southeast Asia .
I used to visit Southeast Asia often, but I haven’t been there in the past 10 years. It’s a little late, but I’m starting to feel that I shouldn’t complain about being unable to speak English, and go visit the place.
● Participated in Microbes Week
● Exhibited at Tech Finder
● From the sites of Southeast Asia – Cameron Highlands (Part four)
● Introducing our new members from Brunei!
● Participated in Microbes Week
Our two BioEngineers, Kawai and Tabata who have been working in Chitose for six years gave a lecture at ‘Microbes Week’ held at the University of Tokyo for six days. By the way, according to an article by Nikkei Biotechnology and Business, throughout the 6 days of the event, more than 1500 people participated. Maybe many of our acquaintances from the microbe field participated as well.
◯Tetsushi Kawai（Tech & Biz Development Div. Senior BioEngineer）
Title of the lecture：”CHITOSE GROUP’s various techniques and businesses, budding from Disparity Mutagenesis”
I gave a lecture at a symposium called ‘The front line of business research’.
As per the name of the symposium, this part was to tell about specific techniques promoted in the company. However, I took a broader meaning to the sponsor’s request of “telling about the appeal or significance of what’s done in the company”, and I decided to talk about the development of Chitose, which had started from only 1 company and has now become a family of 11 companies, and explained each company including our cultivating techniques such as Chitose’s unique ‘Disparity Mutagenesis’ or ‘the optimization of cultivation using machine learning’. Because I still often receive comments from others saying “I don’t really know what Chitose is doing”, so rather than explaining only one technique in detail, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to introduce Chitose itself to the audience.
I think I got left out by talking about something different as the other speakers were explaining about techniques in detail. And also, there were requests to hear about the stories of the techniques on a deeper level. However, at the gathering, many people said that my lecture was interesting. Moreover, the point that hit each person was considerably different, so I think I did offer an opportunity for others to know about Chitose from various angles as I had aimed.
To me, it became the best opportunity of setting the track of Chitose in order, as a company which promotes research and development not based on technique but as a business. Furthermore, I also strongly felt the expectations from outside the company, so I want to thank the audience for giving me the power to make progress.
Title：”Connecting living things and human society through empathy”
I gave a lecture at a project for students with the title “Let’s get to know the company’s development and research sites”.Three Japanese rhinoceros beetle larvae I was raising at home emerged all together, right at the time when I was deciding to take part in the project. I like these Japanese rhinoceros beetles (or should I say I love any kind of creatures) since I was a child, because it is so interesting to watch their shapes and actions. And I think the experience of hypothesizing and inspecting their behavior in nature since I was a child, is leading me as researcher now.
Nowadays, we can easily get the answer by googling , but it is important to hypothesize your own ideas even if you already know the answer, and it is necessary to ‘observe’ before hypothesizing. In order to observe, it is necessary to have curiosity or love or something that sympathizes to the object. So, I advised the students as a personal message that they must handle their own research theme with such feelings (but, I mainly spoke about how our company usually do research).
While making materials for this lecture, I was thinking about many things I never thought in particular before, which was quite fresh to me. One of the interesting things to think about was “what are researchers in companies for?”.Research activities in companies usually comes with the future business or money making factor, so naturally, no business can stand on its own and must be involved in the society. Bio researchers connect living beings and human society by looking at them with sympathy or love or respect, and must do their jobs as they get sympathy or love or respect from the society. I have to study hard to get there, but I’m feeling kind of proud to have this job.
I was supposed to go and hear their lecture, but I was caught in an unexpected project and wasn’t able to attend. (It is like getting into some kind of a sudden accident, which happens quite often in Chitose.)
Okamura who is in the communications team went to listen to their lectures, she said once again that she felt that Chitose has a unique atmosphere. It maybe because the way of thinking anything from zero is circulating through the firm or that maybe it has something to do with the basis of respecting living beings, and I should protect the ‘unique atmosphere’ which Okamura mentioned as a positive word.
● Exhibiting in Tech Finder
Last month, the opening innovation gathering of Mitsui Chemicals Group “Tech Finder 2019(※)” was held.
※Tech Finder is：
Mitsui Chemicals Group’s exchange meeting, with the concept of “seeing, touching, and feeling” their products, techniques, and services, started since 2016.
Mitsui Chemicals Group’s exchange meeting, with the concept of “seeing, touching, and feeling” their products, techniques, and services, started since 2016. Last year, Chitose group started up PHYTO Renaissance Inc. and Tierraponica Inc. with Mitsui Chemicals as a part of “0 to 1 project”. This time we were able to exhibit at Tech Finder to introduce this project.
◯Hisakazu Matsumura（Tech & Biz Development Div.）
I took part in “Tech Finder 2019”
The venue had about 30 booths and was crowded with many visitors. At every booth, exhibitors were explaining about their products that are on display or technologies with passion, and it seemed like a successful colloquium.
As mentioned in the article in July, because the author has a background in the science of agriculture and education, it was a bit difficult for me to understand the state-of-the-art technology of chemistry materials. But I felt sympathy from seeing them passionately trying to share their thoughts on the technology or whatever they were in charge of.
Here, I would like to share with you the impressions of those who participated in the exhibition by interviewing Mr.Hidesaki (The head of PHYTO Renaissance) and Ms.Aritomi (The head of Tierraponica).
Matsumura: At the Tech Finder this time, what impressions do you have compared to the past Tech Finders?
Mr. Hidesaki: It is only a few years ago that a small technology interchange meeting became ‘Tech Finder’, inviting many visitors from outside. I think it’s excellent that we can get a chance to expand businesses in such a way.
Matsumura: There were many people at the exhibition including this booth. Would you share with us any of outstanding question or conversation you had?.
Mr. Hidesaki: I believe the most asked question I got from the people who visited the booth was about the 0 to 1 project. Most of them told me that they already knew about it through media coverage but it was my first time hearing it directly. I felt a strong sense of interest in this project from the participants. .
Matsumura: May I ask about your impression as well, Ms. Aritomi?
Ms. Aritomi: I think there were more people participating from both in and outside of the group compared to the past. I think it is due to the significant rise in the degree of recognition.
Matsumura: Did you have any outstanding conversation?
Ms. Aritomi: Some people from other booths came to introduce their new agricultural materials. Also, I had the chance to talk with a person who runs an overseas business. By experiencing this exhibition, I think it widened my connections where I can consult with.
I was excited to see all those technologies and products that I’ve never seen before this event. You can see them on the specially set-up site (Japanese only) .
I suppose it took a lot of courage to open something that was originally for the interchange meeting within Mitsui Chemicals Group for public viewing. The bigger the organization, the more problems will arise. By opening up a place to talk, I felt that the communication channel was activated for both inside and outside the company.
I’d like to thank Mr. Shindo from Mitsui Chemicals for attending the tour.
● From the sites in Southeast Asia – Cameron Highlands (Part Four)
20% of the members in CHITOSE GROUP are from Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei). The situation at this moment is one where the main area where large-scale businesses are expanding is in Southeast Asia. So, the feelings from those involved in the hands-on business can only be told from the site in Southeast Asia! I can’t always go there to conduct an interview, so I decided to ask our members who are doing their best at the site to write about it by starting the series “From the sites in Southeast Asia”.
The 1st part is about Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, the production base of “Chitose strawberry”. Kataoka will provide us with information from the site throughout the next 5 months.
・Drinking liquor and be overwhelmed by people.
・The forever fall season Cameron Highlands.
・People at the front line of strawberry production.
・Defeat the local pests! ←This issue
・Things that I want to try in Southeast Asia, beyond being a producer. (Scheduled for vol.65)
Capture the local pests!
As you can see in the picture, the land of Cameron Highlands is used as farmland with no restrictions, and you may be surprised and say “Is it possible to grow vegetables on such a steep slope!?”. It’s difficult to get new land there. Therefore, while looking for new and good land for farming, we’re putting in a lot of effort to get the yield as high as they can on our own farmlands.
In order to get the maximum yield, the key is to control the pests and to optimize the environment.
We use infrared cut sheets or mist to optimize the environment, though, it’s difficult to control the pests because farmland is being used throughout the year without rest. In addition to that, pests which don’t break out often in Japan also appear here and some kind of countermeasure that is suitable for Cameron Highlands is definitely necessary. Also, agrochemicals have to be updated because pests easily acquire the resistance to counter the agrochemicals (it’s the same as to antibiotics and drug-resistant bacteria).
However, many agrochemicals used in Malaysia were used in Japan and the west in the 1990’s, and they’re no longer effective enough against pests which already have acquired the resistance against them. For these pests with resistance, there is the course of using natural enemies as biological pesticides in Japan and west, though, we cannot import them since it is not permitted by Malaysia’s Ministry of Agriculture. It is said that it takes about six years to earn the permission, and even if you start the process, the success rate is low.
So our company’s farms are considering the method of searching for the indigenous natural enemies inhabiting in Cameron Highlands.
A strange men holding the loupe can be seen everywhere agrochemicals are expected to be unused to find a natural enemy : in the grass along roads sides, gardens of fancy apartments with magnificent flowers proudly blooming. We discovered one or two natural enemies for spider mites, thrips, and aphids. Strawberries often get infected by these pests, and we are expecting to maintain our farms in the best-condition by using the natural enemies.
If we use the natural enemies, we would be able to reduce the amount of agrochemicals that the farmland needs now and handle the pests which are resistant to chemicals. We expect to be able to increase our yields as well.
＊Writer：Yosuke Kataoka（Chitose Agri Laboratory, Bio Engineer）
Worked in the mountains of Malaysia on Borneo island for 2 years after joining Chitose, and thereafter became in charge of the Southeast Asian agriculture project in producing “Chitose strawberry” mainly in Cameron Highlands.
To be continued in the next HOTTOPICS
Click here if it’s your first time hearing about “Chitose strawberry”
▶Malaysia made “Japanese Quality Strawberries” seek to build the future of agriculture in Asia
● Introducing our new members from Brunei!
Last month, I was curious by the increase in number of members in Brunei. So I asked Suzuka, Representative of Tavelmout Brunei (Tavelmout Biofarm (B) Sdn Bhd), through online chat, “Are there about 5 people?”. And he answered, “There are about 11 people now, and another one is coming on July 16th”. I was surprised to know that members in Brunei are increasing that soon!
◯Satoshi Suzuka（Managing & Factory Director、Tavelmout Biofarm（B）Sdn Bhd）
We have a lot of support from everyone, we started production of “Tabérumo” from end of July in Brunei Darussalam. At the start of production, we newly hired 9 local staff members. Including Suzuka, Sakurada and Sarah, there is 12 people in total now. The new members working in Cultivation, Production, Quality Control and Machine Maintenance have background in science or engineering which is based on the preference of Suzuka and Sakurada. The new members are learning their new job ambitiously. Through working with them for a month until now, I feel proud that we have hired good people. I would like to introduce the new members that give us hope. Thank you in advance for supporting Tavelmout Biofarm (B) Sdn Bhd from now.
Then, let me introduce our promising new members!
▷Chick here for Suzuka’s enthusiastic words during his assumption of role as Representative.
Hello! My Name is Fahim Ibrahim and I am the new Cultivation Team Lead for Tavelmout Biofarm (B) Sdn Bhd. I have recently joined in early July and I am very excited to join this amazing company, learning a lot of new things about cultivation and sharing my experience in Agriculture. I am very passionate about cultivation, science and botany. I am always trying out new techniques to help my plants and cultures grow at home so they can have better quality life! Currently I am experimenting on Hydrangeas and they look great!
I graduated from the University of Brunei Darussalam with a BSc of Biological Science (Honors) and worked in several Agricultural business projects in Brunei helping them achieve yield optimizing and technology integrations to help our locals gain more in terms of economical gains rather than using methods that may lose money.
I choose to join Tavelmout Biofarm because when I first meet Iko-san at a Knowledge Convention in Brunei, he has explaining about Chitose & Tabérumo and I knew this company is somewhere I want to work at because of its science driven mission to help feed people with nutritious and healthy products!
In the near future, I hope to learn, grow and earn respect as a great cultivation and scientist among my peers as much as I can for Tavelmout so we can ensure best quality cultures for our customers. I also would like to share my ideas among peers and colleagues about technological innovations and scientific breakthroughs that may benefit all of us in future. I hope to see great things from all of us as a team working towards a bright green future together! That’s is all from me, Thank you!!
My name is Azim Syazwan, majoring in Biology and I’m one of the production team members.
I joined this company because Spirulina production is a first in Brunei and that piqued my interest. Hence, I wanted to become one of the first to be a part of it and witness Tabérumo grow.
I hope this company will flourish, create more unique products and become the most prominent Spirulina producer in the world.
Hi! I am Haji Zairul, the manufacturing mechanic of Tavelmout Biofarm. I chose to join Tavelmout because this is a perfect opportunity to kick start my mechanical engineering career. My hope is to learn as much as possible about the manufacturing and processing of the Spirulina production. My main goal is to become an excellent engineer or manufacturer. Longer-term, is to become a supervisor. I would greatly enjoy helping to continue to innovate and achieve the company’s main goals.
◯MUHD NUR ADLI
I am Muhd Nur Adli Bin Hj Moksin, I live in Kampong Tungku Gadong, Brunei Darussalam. I am a HND holder in Information and System Development course in Laksamana College of Business from 2015-2017.
My employment began in this company on July 2019 as a production team member. I joined this company because I want to challenge myself outside of my expertise. Furthermore, I discovered that Tavelmout Biofarm is the first company that produces a unique and newly developed product in Brunei that can be our potential staple protein, this is why it fascinates me the most and I’m also curious how the processes looks like.
My hopes and dreams for Tavelmout Biofarm is to develop and grow alongside with this company until we achieve their mission which is to be the largest producer of spirulina in Asia. In addition with the abilities that I possess, I will assist this company to be more successful in the future.
My name is Mohammad Hamizan Saifullah Bin M Yacob with Business and Finance education background. Tavelmout Biofarm recently hired me as the Production Lead. I have experience working in pharmaceutical as a production manufacturing technician.
I choose to join Tavelmout Biofarm because I am interested in spirulina as it is natural and rich in protein. In addition, being a fan of protein drove my interest even more with the intention of getting to know more about spirulina as well as improving my knowledge and motor skill.
My hopes and dreams in the near future for the company is to be more well-known and successful as the Spirulina specialist within Brunei and Globally.
Hi, I am Nurziratul Syamelia, graduated from Universiti Brunei Darussalam as a biological science student.
The reasons I join Tavelmout is to strengthen my practical skills as well as to expand my working experience in correlation to my major subject in UBD.
I do hope i can learn a lot in handling machinery equipments in Tavelmout. And I hope in the near future, Tabérumo will be known and acknowledged by Bruneians.
Just to introduce myself, my name is Hj Zafiran Bin Hj Abd Karim. I am an open minded person. And like to make a good team in any activity.
I join Tavelmout because I wanted to know about the Biofram production. It makes me interested in the new project in Brunei.
I Would like to achieve the goal target of exporting to other countries.
◯CHONG PEI YING
Hello, everyone! I am Pei Ying from Quality Control Department. I majored in Microbiology at University and it has been my passion to work with microorganisms. I was intrigued to join Tavelmout Biofarm when I stumbled upon a news article about Tavelmout Biofarm setting up a factory in Brunei to cultivate microalgae. I am very grateful to be a part of Tavelmout’s Team, working towards a sustainable future by utilizing biotechnology in spirulina production to solve the global protein crisis. As Tavelmout was just newly established for a year, we will work together with strong teamwork towards the success of this organization
My name is Muhd. Zulfadhli Syafiq and I am one of the cultivation team members.
I am a Degree holder in Environmental Life Sciences (Biology) at University Brunei Darussalam. During my university’s years, I was always amazed with microbiology and their potential uses. Now, Spirulina!
I always dream to have a job as a scientist in life science products development and Tavelmout Biofarm has given this particular opportunity. Together, we can develop Spirulina as tomorrow’s primary source of protein and improve the quality of lives of people around the world.
I hope in future, Tavelmout Biofarm will become one of the most prestigious companies in Brunei and across the globe with a strong and efficient workforce. Ganbatte!
Recently, I came across this wall and started asking myself ”what is leadership?” and “what is management?”. The questions are related to moving or improving people.
It is interesting that people at different stages in their life have different sorts of distress.
I think knowing what the person is worrying about will lead the person to know how much they have grown.
On the other hand, I realized that people don’t change so easily because I also have the same problems to consider for a long time.
By the way, I mentioned that I should stop giving excuses to myself that I cannot improve my English and move to Southeast Asia. Well, I’m going there this month. It’s been a long time since the last time I traveled and I had to start by getting my passport.
I’ll certainly be back with the words to pour out my feelings about what I will see from there.