Monday, October 27, 2014
More Factory Vegetable Production - from Toshiba now
Toshiba has converted one of its former semiconductor plants in Yokosuka, Japan into a vegetable farm with the aim of producing 3 million bags of vegetables a year.
Shipment of the first crop of vegetables from the clean room farm is scheduled for the end of October 2014.
Toshiba’s says its closed-type plant factory uses state-of-the-art technology to raise crops and operates under almost aseptic conditions. Crops being grown in the idle semiconductor factory include leaf lettuce, baby leaf greens, spinach, mizuna and herbs.
The diversification into agriculture could bring in 300 million yen [ 3 million A$ approx] of income for Toshiba in vegetable sales.
Toshiba is utilising the existing cleanroom infrastructure in its plant factories to grow the vegetables in close to sterile conditions. By minimising the presence and thus the damage caused by germs, Toshiba says its crops have an extended period of freshness and shelf life.
The factory is equipped with a wide range of technologies and know-how from across the Toshiba Group, including fluorescent lighting with an output wavelength optimised for vegetable growth; air-conditioning systems that maintain constant temperature and moisture level; remote monitoring systems to track growth; and sterilisation systems for packing materials.
Toshiba is also using a production management system based on that used for its semiconductor device production.
While this is some new news, similar efforts are also underway in Singapore as well as other parts of Japan to grow vegetables indoors.
Will this approach to technology continue to be a major new direction for vegetable production particularly where and is more limited, or there are potential issues with a need for clean production?
Could this be used for a range of crops including melons and smaller fruited crops such as zucchinis? An interesting conundrum given the current disease issues facing the crop in some parts of the world, including Australia?