Associate professor Takashi Ikeda of Meiji University developed a plant factory that allows for stable year-round harvesting of strawberries in alliance with Hibiya Engineering. Because strawberries are hard to grow at a high temperature, summer production usually decreases to less than hundredth of the season production. However, strawberries are in great demand for shortcakes in summer. Orec, a manufacturer of farm machinery, is constructing the new plant factory to start growing strawberries coming March. Shipment will start in summer.
Strawberries can produce berries once a year in the conventional plant factory. The new plant factory, however, makes it possible to produce berries several times by tweaking temperature and lighting duration depending on the situation of the plant. The research team adopted fluorescent tubes that are inexpensive and energy-saving than LEDs to reduce equipment and utility cost. A plant factory with a 440-square-meter growth space needs an initial investment of 60 million yen and produces 8 tons of strawberries per year. The research team reckons it is possible to get profit beginning in the initial year.
An introduction of a plant factory