According to The Asahi Shimbun, Fujitsu Ltd. might be most commonly associated with computers, but the electronics giant has adapted an information technology system that has led it into a surprising field: kale farming.
The company is embarking on the full-fledged production and sale of kale, grown on a farm in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture, to be eaten raw in salads, Fujitsu said June 2. And this could be just the beginning for Fujitsu’s foray into farming.
“We hope to venture out into other geographic areas to grow vegetables, flowers and other plants that meet the conditions of those locales,” said Fujitsu Senior Vice President Mitsutoshi Hirono.
The green leaf vegetable will be grown using an IT-based farming system, developed by a Fujitsu-led team, which uses sensors to monitor temperatures and humidity levels in greenhouses.
Automated heating controls, shade curtains and other components are also used, allowing disease-prone kale to be grown under optimal conditions at all times.
The company said it has adapted the information technology system to be used in farming to enable a stable supply of kale, which is considered a difficult vegetable to grow.
While kale intended for being processed into green juices is being produced on an expanding scale, this will be the first large-scale production in Japan of kale intended to be eaten fresh and uncooked, Fujitsu officials said.
The vegetable will be grown by Smart Agriculture Iwata Co., an agricultural corporation set up in April jointly by Fujitsu, major leasing company Orix Corp., and Masuda Seed Co., a local seed and seedlings dealer.
The kale will be marketed under the brand name of B-Food for retailers, restaurants and other establishments.
Analysis of accumulated growth data will make it possible to meet consumer needs, such as demands for larger leaves, the officials said, adding that growth and shipment of bell peppers and tomatoes will also begin by the end of fiscal 2016. They anticipate annual proceeds of about 70 million yen (US$650,000) from the sale of kale alone.
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