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In Japan the previously developed concept of a plant factory again receives attention and in contrast with previous attempts it appears that the concept will be successful now. This is also thanks to the worries of Japanese customers regarding food safety and the low level of self-sufficiency. The plant factory is a closed growing system, in which throughout the year a constant production of high quality vegetables can be achieved. Artificial control of growing conditions, such as light, temperature, moisture, carbon dioxide concentration and the possibility to add culture solutions are added advantages because of this growers can plan their production better.
A planting room directly behind a small shop
The closed growing systems in Japan only use artificial light. Hygienic conditions are an absolute requirement. The system is regarded to be a way to increase food production by cultivating in more than one layer and all year round. In Japan the food processing industry and the restaurant sector strongly demand a stable supply of high quality vegetables all year round. Furthermore Japan expects plant factories to develop vegetables with medicinal properties in future. In research laboratories genetically modified rice has already been grown, decreasing blood pressure or hay fever symptoms. For the time being, however, cultivation is mainly directed towards leafy vegetables, tomatoes and strawberries.
Test placing in plant room (with tomatoes) in the
It is expected that large companies will lead the development of plant factories. Simultaneously the Japanese government will support universities and research companies with the development of new cost saving technologies and methods, so that plant factories will be able to operate more productively and energy efficiently. Research projects will be supported by the government by way of subsidies.
Source: Berichten Buitenland, Ministerie LNV
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