Ag-tech company eyes China

With just a few clicks, Seth Swanson, an agriculture-technology scientist in Silicon Valley, demonstrated how he monitored and operated an indoor planting system remotely with his smartphone.

“We have the ability of consolidating our managing of labor, so we can assign tasks for employees to do in a faster and more precise way,” said Swanson, plant cultivation and research manager at AEssenseGrows, a Sunnyvale, California-based company.

His company is trying to solve the needs for higher-growth yields, food safety and conservation of resources with its aeroponic (soil-free) systems. The sensors-monitored and software-managed systems “allow us to make big improvements as growers and a company as well – we can constantly improve the user experience and precision as well”, said Swanson.

In the company’s grow room, vegetables, like tomato and kale, flowers and herbs are growing on vertical grow systems with roots sprayed at set periods by a precise spray mist of water and nutrients.

“The aeroponic technology has existed for a while. What we bring to the industry is the technologies to make it more manageable, so it can monitor the plants a lot better and easier,” said Robert Chen, president and CEO of AEssenseGrows.

According to the company, its self-developed software and the nutrient-dosing recipes can increase yields by 40 percent while reducing water and nutrient use by 90 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

“It’s totally under control and ensures safety, as it does not need pesticide at all,” said Chen.

Established in 2014 in Silicon Valley, the company has built a 100,000-square-foot farming facility for technology demonstration in the Jiading district of Shanghai, to tap into the huge Chinese market.

Read more at chinadaily.com


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