The prices of perishable farm produce such as fruit and vegetables fluctuate depending on their seasonal supply. It is therefore important to ensure a stable supply of perishables to meet consumers’ needs while maintaining producers’ incomes. Greenhouse
farming allows crop cultivation regardless of weather conditions and season, thus extending growing and harvesting periods. Plant factories are modern greenhouses equipped with smart technologies such as sensors and the Internet of Things. Based on
monitoring of the environment and crop growth, year-round harvesting in plant factories is possible through advanced environmental control.
There are two basic types of plant factories: those using solar light for tomatoes, peppers, etc.; and those using artificial light for lettuce, other leafy greens, etc. In these plant factories, the crop growth environment such as temperature, air and
soil moisture, soil nutrition, and CO2 levels are monitored and precisely controlled at optimum levels. Data on the environment are automatically stored and analyzed to increase quality and yields. The ideal growth environment is then maintained
In the Netherlands, the tomato yield per 0.1 ha was drastically increased from 10 tons in the early 1970s to 50 tons in the mid-1990s using plant factories. In addition, 12 labor hours were required to yield 1 ton of tomatoes in 2016 in the Netherlands
thanks to plant factories, while in Japan 114 hours were required for the same yield. Therefore, plant factories increase labor productivity, enabling farmers to make profits from small land areas. According to MarketsandMarkets (2021), the global
plant factory market was estimated at USD121.8 billion in 2021 and projected to reach USD172.5 billion by 2026.
Plant factory farmers must have entrepreneurial skills. Compared with natural cultivation, plant factories are costly. Sound financial planning taking into account costs and benefits is crucial for success. The production of high-quality produce must
therefore be accompanied by the necessary marketing skills. In addition, plant factories can be used for multiple objectives. For example, some small plant factories are used in restaurants and assisted-living facilities.
This course will illustrate practical knowledge and technologies necessary for plant factory management. It is expected to promote smart transformation in the agriculture sector, which is one of the key result areas in the APO Vision 2025. In addition,
the promotion of plant factories will contribute to raising the labor productivity of farmers and stabilizing food supplies regardless of climatic conditions, thereby benefiting consumers as well as producers in member countries.
The APO developed this course with the support of Dennis Steentjes, Consultant, Delphy Japan Co., Ltd.
The main objectives of this course are:
This e-learning course will cover the following modules: Module 1: Overview of plant factories Module 2: Plant physiology: Photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, and stomata Module 3: Sensors and other equipmentModule 4: Data
analysis Module 5: Cost-control measures, value-added production, and marketing of produce