Low-potassium lettuce (Kirei Yasai) produced by ICT and a semiconductor clean room
Fujitsu Forum Tokyo 2014 is Fujitsu’s largest annual event and was held on May 15- 16, 2014, at Tokyo International Forum in the city’s Yurakucho district. At the Exhibition Hall, we invited customers to a total of 72 demonstrations held in three zones: Social Innovation, Business Innovation, and ICT for Innovation.
In this report, we introduce a booth with the theme Next-generation agriculture from the Social Innovation zone.
At this booth we exhibited Kirei Yasai a Fujitsu vegetable brand that is drawing great attention from the media as an innovative “lettuce grown and sold by Fujitsu.” This Kirei Yasai was produced in a clean room which was originally part of a semiconductor manufacturing plant. At the booth, we had on display an exhibit that was a reproduction of the lettuce cultivation shelves in a clean room and shows the way lettuce is grown.
Meticulous sanitary control and management using ICT. Up to 3,500 heads of lettuce can be produced per day, the highest production level in Japan!
Fujitsu grows lettuce at the Aizu-Wakamatsu Akisai Vegetable Plant located in Aizu-Wakamatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture. The meticulous sanitary control and development management by ICT in this plant allows for the production of lettuce that has approximately 80% less potassium thanks to Fujitsu’s unique combination of technology, can be eaten without washing, is tasty, and has a long shelf life. The plants are grown in a floor area of 2,000 square meters which is the largest scale of plant factory growing low-potassium vegetables in Japan.
The reason why Fujitsu came to use a former semiconductor plant is that environmental control and sanitary control are highly important in growing vegetables that have a health function. Since semiconductor manufacturing requires technologies to set optimal manufacturing conditions, clean room management technology, and other technologies to control various germs, this know-how was also used for developing vegetables.
In addition, Fujitsu also combined Akisai Food and Agriculture Cloud, Fujitsu’s cloud service that supports corporate farm management along with its know-how and technology.
Fujitsu’s Akisai Food and Agriculture Cloud is a system to visualize and manage data required for farm management, including production, management, and sales. We have built a unique system that uses semiconductor plant facilities and Fujitsu’s Akisai Food and Agriculture Cloud to enable integrated management of a lettuce growing environment by sensing the required information such as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, air current, and lighting, and that uses the power of ICT to make farm management more efficient.
We have established a large-scale vegetable plant for growing functional vegetables by concentrating various technologies. Currently the plant can produce up to 3,500 heads of low-potassium lettuce per day.
In addition, since a cloud system is used, you can instantly find out the condition of the plant whenever and wherever by using tablets and other devices and then operate equipment as needed.
Following sales to hospitals and Japanese-style hotels, we started selling vegetables to general retail customers. We aim to develop this as a new business for Fujitsu!
The Aizu-Wakamatsu Akisai Vegetable Plant began operation in July 2013 as a place to conduct demonstration experiments of future agriculture management, and began mass production of low-potassium lettuce in February of this year. In May, the plant began sales to hospitals and Japanese-style hotels in Fukushima Prefecture and the Metropolitan areas, and also sells vegetables to the general public through Coop Aizu and Kyushuya Corporation. Moreover, Musashino Foods Co., Ltd. and Fujitsu FOM Limited are preparing for online sales and major hotels are expressing an interest in the vegetables, thus rapidly expanding the available sales channels.
Hiroki Mori, Deputy Section Manager at the Sales Department, Advanced Agriculture Division of Fujitsu Home & Office Services Limited, commented about the response to low-potassium lettuce, “At hospitals, they emphasize the value of lettuce in hospital meals prepared for the patients. At restaurants and other general retailers, the topicality of these vegetables is highly valued.”
The plant plans to try growing various vegetables for health functions, focusing not only on lettuce but also other leafy vegetables. Fujitsu intends to open up new possibilities for this vegetable cultivation as a new business that goes beyond the framework of these demonstration experiments.