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"Future success of Japanese horticulture depends on the adaptation of Dutch technology"

Japan is a country with great potential for controlled environment agriculture and advanced greenhouse horticulture. This is what we learned during the last edition of the GPEC, a biannual exhibition and conference for Greenhouse Horticulture and Plant Factory Technology that was held in Tokyo in July. At the conference we had a chance to speak with Mr. Hiraaki Tomita of Tomita Technologies Ltd, a leading greenhouse constructor and grower from Yokohama.

Hiraaki Tomita and Mami Hashimoto of Tomita Technologies Ltd.and Marcel Schulte of HollandGaas at the GPEC in Tokio
Tomita Technologies builds greenhouse projects and supplies Japanese growers with all-round and specific greenhouse technologies like climate control, irrigation units, technical service, starting materials, pest control, substrates and other cropping accessories. Hiraaki’s company has been closely following, using and demonstrating technology from The Netherlands, and Tomita is working closely with a number of Dutch companies. According to Tomita, the future success of Japanese horticulture depends on the adaptation of the technology from the Dutch. 

“Tomita Technologies has always been emphasizing Dutch technology,” said Tomitai. “The Netherlands are steps ahead in the development of sustainable greenhouse production techniques and we believe that the rest of the world can learn a lot from them. The Dutch greenhouses are highly energy-efficient and fit exactly into the plans that the Japanese government has embarked upon in regards to increasing domestic food production and reducing energy spills. 

According to Tomita, Japan is a country that imports much greenhouse produce, but also is producing a lot of horticultural goods. “There are many small growers in Japan, but they are using old and simple technologies. Most of them are growing in the open field or they have tunnels that are equipped with less or no automation. It is our company’s philosophy to make the Japanese growers more familiar with advanced Dutch greenhouse technology and help them to produce more sustainable. In this way they can become more productive and deliver better quality to our local markets”

The last year was a real break-through for Japanese horticulture when the Japanese Minister of Agriculture and also the Prime Minister visited the Netherlands. The visit was part of a series of trade missions between Japan and The Netherlands as the Japanese government announced plans to make subsidies available for domestic and energy efficient food production.

The team of Tomita Technologies Ltd.

“Our Minister of Agriculture wants to use advanced horticulture as a tool to recover local and national economy from the devastating consequences of the Tsunami near Sendai in 2011,” said Tomita. “We truly believe that Dutch greenhouses are a perfect solution to recover our economy; they can make us less dependent on energy as they are far more efficient. Another big advantage of the greenhouse hydroponics, is that we can grow vegetables again in regions that have no soil-fertility [as a result of the salt water flood].

Further more, the decline of younger farmers in newer generations is another reason for the Japanese Minister of Agriculture to emphasize advanced horticulture. "We are hoping to attract younger generations to study or work in horticulture," said Tomita. "There are not many young Japanese interested in horticulture thus far, as the industry still has the image of being very low-tech. But now that we are entering the era of advanced technology, we can hopefully change the ties and welcome new generations of farmers."

For more information:
Tomita Technologies Ltd.
16F Techno Tower Yokohama-Kanazawa
High-Tech Center 1-1Fukuura Kanazawa-ku
Yokohama Japan
E-mail:[email protected]