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Japanese cucumbers growing in Russia’s Far East

At an industrial park in the Russian city of Khabarovsk, Russian workers were tending cucumber seedlings several centimeters long in greenhouses the size of soccer fields.

The greenhouse operation was set up in 2015 by a company jointly established by leading Yokohama-based industrial plant engineering company JGC Corp. and a Russian company.

“The temperature in winter drops to minus 20 C. It’s impossible to grow plants outdoors,” said Tomoyuki Igarashi, president of the joint company. “We thought it would become a [viable] business if vegetables were cultivated year-round here.”

The company grows a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce and spinach as well as cucumbers in the greenhouses and ships 1,000 tons of them a year. More than 70 people currently work here, but only two of them, including Igarashi, are Japanese.

In winter, vegetables from China dominate the market in the Russian Far East. Greenhouse vegetables are priced 30 percent to 40 percent higher than Chinese ones. But Igarashi believes the response has been favorable.

“There are consumers who seek better quality and safety in vegetables grown with Japanese agricultural technology,” Igarashi said.

Read more at The Japan News (Mikoto Hata)

Publication date: 9/13/2017



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