Saturday, November 19, 2011

No. 355: A Japanese plant factory technology goes to China (November 19, 2011)

A Japanese plant factory technology developed by Mitsubishi Plastics, a member company of the Mitsubishi ChemicalHoldings, will go to China. The company will market the nutriculture system that utilizes sunlight starting in 2012 in alliance with a cooperative association in Jiangsu province. Demand for the water-saving agricultural method has been growing in China. MKV Dream that is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Plastics concluded an agreement with the Chinese cooperative association in Nanjing. The two companies built test facilities for the plant factory to culture tomatoes and spinaches with an investment of about 60 million yen.

This technology cultures nursery plants in a PVC greenhouse to decrease the outbreak of diseases and the consumption of agrichemicals. The nursery plants are cultured by dense planting in boxes filled with culture solution. It is expected that about 50 tons of tomatoes, which is 2.5 times more volume than the culture in a conventional greenhouse, can be harvested annually for every 10 are. Because this technology can utilize the existing greenhouse, it does not need so much initial investment as the plant factory that depends totally on artificial light. In addition, the cultivation cost is estimated to decrease to one sixth. In China, the area of protected horticulture will increase 20% over the previous year to about 3,600,000 hectare that is about 70 times larger area in Japan in 2011.

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