- Lead Grower - Stevensburg (VA) USA
- Assistant Crop Manager - Tasmania
- Post-Harvest Quality Manager - Europe
- Farm Operator - Kearny (NJ) USA
- Cultivation Manager - MI, USA
- Export Sales Manager (Europe Division)
- Africa Fruit Export Sales Manager
- Grower (TX)
- Young Plant Program Manager (WA)
- Plant Pathologist - Kearny (NJ) USA
Top 5 -yesterday
- Wholesum expanding its greenhouse acreage by fall 2021
- "New tabletop growing system requires much lower capital investment"
- "We are working to realize a stable presence in the United States"
- "Trianum successfully controls Fusarium in lettuce"
- AppHarvest completes deal with Rabo AgriFinance to fuel expansion
Top 5 -last week
Top 5 -last month
- South Africa: How an innovative smaller supplier helped to keep tomatoes on Shoprite shelves
- Hydroponic pepper farm expands in India
- Scientists discover how to alter colour and ripening rates of tomatoes
- 6 common greenhouse pests and how to manage them
- "We store CO2 from the outside air to make plants grow faster"
Japan’s oldest plant factory company charts a new course
MIRAI was one of the first of Japan’s 200+ plant factory companies, inaugurated in September 2004 by plant physiologist Shimamura Shigeharu. Shortly after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the associated Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Shimamura saw an opportunity to help solve the country’s food shortage by founding a large-scale plant factory. Inspired by a teenage visit to the Expo ’85 World Fair, Shimamura had a longstanding interest in plant factories and identified an abandoned Sony factory in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan for the farm site. As he described the situation: “I knew how to grow good vegetables biologically and I wanted to integrate that knowledge with hardware to make things happen”.
MIRAI was one of the first commercial indoor farming companies to benefit from the “Moore’s Law” effect in LEDs that has driven improved commercial viability for indoor farms globally. It worked with US multinational GE to incorporate LEDs into its plant factory, so using 40% less power than fluorescent equivalents according to a publication produced by GE. This initial plant factory had 18 cultivation racks that were 15 stacks high.
Over time, MIRAI has expanded to produce 16,000 heads of lettuce per day across its plant factories, as well as offering research, design and build services for other indoor farmers and acting as an agricultural product wholesaler. Like most plant factories, it offers a range of leafy greens and herbs, such as romaine lettuce, watercress and coriander. More than 90% of its produce goes to hamburger chains and sandwich makers, such as, convenience store chains.
Further, the company is one of a handful of Japanese plant factories to embark on international expansion. It expanded to add plant factories in Mongolia (where fresh vegetables are normally imported during the harsh winter months) in January 2014 and to Russia in March 2016. There is also a MIRAI-related facility in Hong Kong.
MIRAI has become known as one of the most forward-thinking companies in the industry. For instance, it’s first overseas project was to prove the system’s capability in extreme environments in Antarctica in January 2008. It continues this tradition with its current work with PlantX, a cloud based controls based company that says it has seen significant yield improvements in lettuce by utilizing its “SAIBAIX” product to capture and analyze environmental data at a MIRAI plant factory based at Chiba University. The project is guided by Chiba University’s Professor Kozai, who discussed it in his book “Plant Factory”.
A new backer in 2015
Last year, MIRAI achieved another milestone, when it was acquired by Masaru Industries Ltd, a nearly 60-year old plastics manufacturing firm based in Tokyo. With the company’s growth, it had begun to need more expansion capital than was available to it, and Masaru had been seeking investment opportunities in the sector. With the acquisition, Shiina Yoshio – whose family owns Masaru – became President & CEO of MIRAI and turned his focus to improving the company’s competitive advantages.
In his presentation at the ‘East Meets West’ event, Shiina discussed his goal of “optimizing the overall factory operation” by balancing marketing, agricultural and industrial approaches. He views running the farm as if it’s a manufacturing or industrial process, for example, by creating robust quality control processes, as being the only route to profitability for large scale vertical farms. He lists several attributes that are needed to run a successful commercial-scale plant factory business, such as, construction knowledge, physiology experience, and marketing know-how. His aim is to see MIRAI embody these principles as it continues its rapid expansion.
For more information:
Indoor Ag-Con Asia
Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here
Other news in this sector:
- 2021-05-31 Study on hydroponic lettuce production in hydroponic vertical farm
- 2021-05-26 Malaysian mall visitors enouraged to start farming
- 2021-05-24 Growers with vertical farm continue to grow and test
- 2021-05-11 Excess motion in CEA facility maintenance and how to eliminate it
- 2021-04-29 Research project turns Singapore's unused spaces into vegetable farms
- 2021-04-20 Vertical Harvest is raising food and futures in Wyoming
- 2021-04-08 Vertical farming gaining popularity among traditional growers
- 2021-03-10 "The plant tower is a mini-vertical farm for the cultivation of herbs, flowers, fruit or vegetables"
- 2020-12-22 Common mistake: "The aspects of microclimates are underestimated”
- 2020-12-18 Container farm with carousel systems doubles yield
- 2020-12-14 Join the virtual tour at Plant Factory
- 2020-12-01 We're going vertical!
- 2020-11-24 "In Abu Dhabi, I was told with a big smile that an Arab shouldn’t go hungry”
- 2020-11-24 RotoGro International to raise $1.53M for vertical farming
- 2020-11-20 Singapore’s ’30 by 30′ food security strategy
- 2020-11-20 Social Good Summit: Is vertical and indoor farming the future?
- 2020-11-16 The effects of the Spirulina extract on hydroponics
- 2020-11-13 A couple of showrooms in Europe need to get the ball rolling for Verde Compacto
- 2020-11-11 Tisha Livingston on the Untold Stories of Innovation Podcast
- 2020-11-09 Israeli startup offers modular vertical farming solutions