Various companies in Japan eyed to establish skyscraper farms that will double production relative to traditional farms. The production advantage of the innovated farm will address the increasing food demand brought about by the growing population in urban areas.
Spread Co. is on its way to put the world’s largest automated leaf-vegetable factory. This is a turning point of vertical farming, where cost of producing agri-commodities will be reduced.
According to Takada in Bloomberg News, “Spread is among a handful of commercial firms that claim to have cracked the problem with a mix of robotics, technology and scale.”
Growing 30,000 heads of lettuce a day on racks under custom-designed LED lights, is the new facility that Spread Co. introduced in Japan’s Silicon Valley, Keihanna Science City.
What are it’s features? “A sealed room protects the vegetables from pests, diseases and dirt. Temperature and humidity are optimized to speed growth of the greens, which are fed, tended and harvested by robots.”
What is more interesting, there are reasons why skyscraper farms are beneficial:
Cited in report of Takada, Spread President Shinji Inada, said in an interview at the company’s existing facility in Kameoka, “Our system can produce a stable amount of vegetables of a good quality for sale at a fixed price throughout the year, without using pesticides and with no influence from weather.”
In Japan, this technology is their alternative for expensive organic-growns. Consumers tend to pay more for lettuce grown in skyscraper farm due to its pesticide free attribute. It is relatively expensive to grow organics in Japan because the weather, type of soil ,and temperature are not suitable for these kinds of produce.
“Spread’s Inada, a former vegetable trader, founded his company in 2006 and opened his first facility the following year in Kameoka city in Kyoto prefecture. The company spent years refining systems for lighting, water supply, nutrients and other costs and the plant finally turned its first profit in 2013.”