South Korea: Smart farm at industrial site grows future foods

Miraewon, a farming company, is in an unlikely place, an ordinary industrial site in northern Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi. But that’s because it’s a smart-farming company.

On Dec. 3, senior government officials, including the Ministry of Science and ICT’s first vice minister, gathered at Miraewon as it hosted a conference for experts as the government looks to establish research and development reform measures in search of new industries.

While the company’s building seems like a manufacturing facility from the outside, the 1,160 square meters (12,486 square feet) inside are protected from external contaminants and produce 80 tons of around 20 different types of agricultural goods annually, including herbs and lettuce.

The company not only grows vegetables but also packages the produce, as, for example, salads ready to be sold on store shelves.

Last year, Miraewon supplied products it grew and packaged to 25 retailers, such as Lotte Mart, Hyundai Department Store, Samsung Welstory and CU, generating 35 billion won ($30.9 million) in sales.

“We reached the break-even point two years ago,” said Kang Dae-hyun, vice president of Miraewon. “For this year, we expect to record around 42 billion won in sales.”

“We plan to expand the vertical farming facility to a size of 700 pyeong [24,908 square feet] and push out full-scale automated lines,” Kang added.

Read more at the Korea JoongAng Daily (Choi Joon-Ho)


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