May 19, 2021 | By Masanori TONEGAWA
A Vegetable Cultivation Solution to Open Up New Potential
New Vegetable-growing Initiatives by Japanese and Foreign Companies
Hearing that there was an odd kind of lettuce on sale at the Summit supermarket, I went there to take a look. In a large case placed in the store, an assortment of vegetables were bathed in white light, awaiting harvest. The equipment had been installed by the German startup Infarm. Rather than building factories, Infarm disperses its equipment to grow vegetables close to where they are consumed. It has supplied around 1,200 units to 30 or more large Western retailers, such as Marks & Spencer in the UK and Kroger in the USA.
In Japan, Panasonic is using its proprietary electronics technology and the advanced tech it developed through factory production to develop and promote “artificially-lit vegetable factory systems”. In agriculture, the quantity and quality of production are controlled by weather conditions, and farming expertise depends on experience and intuition, making it difficult to earn stable income. Agrochemicals are necessary to improve harvest yields, which is a mismatch with the needs of consumers looking for chemical-free produce. I’m looking to Japanese technology for solutions.