Is growing vegetables in the open becoming a thing of the past?

Entirely robotic lettuce farm to be built in Japan

Agriculture in the 21st-century is moving from fields and greenhouses to high-tech facilities. Now a Japanese firm is building the first lettuce plant where everything will be automated, from seeding to harvest.

The plant will be built in Japan’s Kansai Science City near Kyoto by innovative vegetable producer Spread and will cover approximately 4,800 square meters. The company plans to produce 30,000 heads of lettuce per day.

The plant, expected to start producing vegetables in 2017, will be recycling 98 per cent of water and rely entirely on artificial light using energy-efficient LED.

The entire cultivation process will run automatically, including seeding, watering, applying fertilisers and harvest.

The firm behind the project said its concept offers a solution for a more sustainable and resource-efficient agriculture necessary to feed the growing global population.

The indoor vegetable plant is immune to the whims of the weather that can haunt conventional outdoor farmers. No storm, drought or cold spell can destroy the precious crops, which always receive the optimum temperature, humidity and nutrition required for maximum yield.

Spread said the cultivation environment control technology it has developed, guiding the usage of water, lighting and air-conditioning, could be used anywhere in the world. The firm said the system lowers production cost by perfecting resource management.

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