One of the world’s largest information technology companies is taking a stab at agtech and now, they’re explaining why.
Eating a lettuce leaf on stage during the Fujitsu Forum Tokyo 2014 conference, Fujitsu Ltd. CEO Masami Yamamoto explained why the world’s third-largest IT company is growing Fujitsu lettuce.
“This is a way to prove that we are seriously committed in agricultural solutions. Not only in Japan, but worldwide,” Yamamoto said, according to TechWeek Europe. “It is an industry where people still base their work in their knowledge, sensitivity and intuition. However, more countries, like the Netherlands, for example, are applying ICT to agriculture in an amazing way. The developed countries are joining this trend.”
Using its own data and analysis smart cloud platform called Akisai, Fujitsu is growing lettuce in a 2,000 square meter sterile lab in Fukushima, once used for manufacturing phone chips. The platform measures temperature, humidity, fertilization levels, and other data from sensors, and can tell the producers how the plants are growing and when they should be harvested.
“Basically, the message is that Fujitsu, an ICT company, managed to produce high quality lettuce,” Yamamoto said. “So imagine what a agricultural company can do to make its business profitable with ICT applied to this industry.”
The Fujitsu lettuce isn’t just intended for the average veggie-eater, either. Starting lab trials in October 2013, the lab’s scientists developed a low-potassium lettuce that can be eaten by patients with chronic kidney disease, and Fujitsu says they anticipate these will be their first customers.
According to TechWeekEurope, the company is now on a full-scale production level, taking orders for lettuce as it expands its new “Kirei Yasai”, or clean vegetables, line. The publication reports that a 90-gram pack will cost around $4.90 dollars. (That’s about twice the price of the average lettuce head in Japan.) But, as Susana Marvão adds, they don’t need to be washed.