Due to available subsidies, low interest rates and good market conditions with attractive prices for fresh produce, the acreage with high tech greenhouses in Japan is growing steadily. Over the last couple of years, VB has been involved in the realization of several high tech greenhouses and was responsible for the construction of several turnkey projects, as well as installing heating systems for greenhouse projects with our Japanese partner Tomita Technologies.
The Japanese greenhouse industry mainly consists of small scale low and medium tech greenhouse operations that are owned by an older generation of farmers, a small, but increasing amount of high tech greenhouse operations are slowly being developed across the country. VB again completed two projects last year. VB has been responsible for the heating at two projects; the three hectare project of Kokonoe and a four hectare project for Shimanto. That is a total of seven hectares, which is substantial for Japanese standards. During the GPEC (Greenhouse Horticulture & Plant Factory Exhibition) in July in Tokyo another agreement was made for a complete new 2 hectare greenhouse project to be completed in 2017.
The Japanese high tech greenhouse projects increase in size every year. This is a clear and steady development: A couple of years ago our largest projects would have been 1,5 hectares, nowadays we are working on projects of three or four hectares. This definitely shows that the Japanese are interested in up-scaling towards larger production. This development is also driven by governmental subsidies. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture and the local prefectures promote larger scale horticultural production by means of subsidies and funds. As well as this, you see and hear a lot about larger Japanese enterprises who want to invest in greenhouse horticulture. Still, the projects that eventually are being built are just a few, and it takes quite some time before they are actually being built. On average it can take more than one year before a subsidy is granted.
Together with other horticultural project partners like Royal Brinkman and Priva, the projects are delivered turnkey by the Japanese company Tomita Technologies. VB was responsible for the installation of the heating and other climate technology like air handling units. Priva provided automation and Royal Brinkman provided water technical and electrical installations.
The greenhouses are covered with a plastic roof, but have advanced greenhouse technology inside. Most of the projects that are built in Japan are still realized with plastic greenhouses, due to the risks of earthquakes. Yet, the technologies inside these projects make them really high end production facilities, designed to Japanese standards.
The picture added to this article shows the project of Shimanto; a 4,3 hectare tomato greenhouse in the prefecture of Kochi. The project from Tomita technologies uses know how and supplies from three Dutch companies; VB Group, Priva and Royal Brinkman.