Mitsubishi Plastics Agri Dream Co., Ltd. (MPAD) and The KAITEKI Institute, Inc. (TKI), which are subsidiaries of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), will expand the scale of the agricultural experiment using a sunlight type plant factory that is taking place in Victoria State, Australia. In December this year, the plant factory will be increased in size from 150m2 to 600m2 in order to start local test marketing of the vegetables it produces. This comes as a next step in the experiment that has thus far successfully proven that vegetables can be steadily grown and harvested with the plant factory system.
Last November, MPAD and TKI signed an agreement with Agriculture Victoria Services Pty., Ltd. (“AVS”), an affiliate company of the Department of Environment Primary Industry of the Victoria State Government in Australia (“DEPI”), to start the trial for the sunlight type plant factory. MPAD’s production systems, Nae-Terrace™※1 and Napper-Land™※2, were installed in an area of the Knoxfield center (around 150m2), which is owned by the Department. Trial vegetable production using the sunlight type plant factory began in spring of this year. Results of the trial established that even in Australia’s harsh climate conditions, the plant factory was capable of producing spinach and other vegetables of similar quality as grown in Japan, without the use of pesticides. Premier of Victoria, Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP provided very positive comments that the advanced agricultural production system of MPAD and TKI will contribute to the goal of the Victorian Government to double agricultural production by 2030.
In the next step, with increased vegetable production made possible by the expansion of the Knoxfield center plant factory, the vegetables will be distributed through a local business to upscale supermarkets and restaurants to test market the produce. With sights set for future business development and branding, from January 2014, the vegetables will sold in attractively designed packages that promote their innovative characteristics, such as being able to eat without washing. If good results are obtained from the test marketing, MPAD, together with local business partners, will begin deliberations towards building a new business model, including the establishment of a locally incorporated company to handle the overall business, from production, packaging, to sales.
MPAD and TKI aim to drive forward the development of new agricultural businesses that can provide safe and high quality vegetables to people around the world, and to contribute to the realization of KAITEKI ※3 advocated by the MCHC Group.
※1 Closed production system with temperature control and automatic management of light and irrigation water used to grow healthy and consistent seedlings in a short period of time.
※2 Hydroponic production system for leaf vegetable
※3 A state of true sustainability that also represents comfort for people, society, and the earth, which is promoted by the MCHC Group as the ultimate value corporate activities should seek for in the 21st century.
【photo: Napper-Land ™ hydroponic production system for leaf vegetables】
･Mitsubishi Plastics Agri Dream Co., Ltd.
|Head office||:||1-2-2 Nihonbashi Hongokucho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan|
|Established||:||July 1, 2009|
|Capital||:||300million yen (100% Mitsubishi Plastics Inc., Ltd.)|
|Line of business||:||production and sales of high quality agricultural materials, such as agricultural films, hydroponics, irrigation systems, and support for greenhouse farmers|
･The KAITEKI Institute, Inc.
|Head office||:||Palace Building, 1-1, Marunouchi 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan|
|Established||:||April 1, 2009|
|Line of business||:||Research and investigation into social trends in the future, research and development for new enterprises, and operation and management of contract research|