Tech giant launches strawberries venture in Dubai

Japanese firm Sharp to aims to commercialise Dubai factory following tests to optimise growth

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Japanese technology company Sharp is to diversify its company by growing strawberries in Dubai, by developing controlled environments that carefully tweak temperature, light and humidity.

The company said in a statement has been developing technology to cultivate strawberries at a facility in Sharp's Middle East Free Zone Establishment in Dubai.

"Sharp aims to commercialise the facility following repeated tests conducted in a laboratory built in July this year," the corporation said.

Favoured for their high quality, Japanese strawberries are sold for high prices in overseas markets, such as in the Middle East, Sharp added in the statement.

But because strawberries are perishable and quick to spoil, distributing them overseas has always been difficult. Cultivating fresh strawberries in a locally situated plant-growing facility should therefore enable local production and consumption without problems caused by location, weather, and temperature, Sharp said.

In the SMEF laboratory building, strawberries are cultivated in a sealed environment under artificial light.

The growth environment is precisely controlled using Sharp electronic technologies including LEDs that enable controlled lighting, plasmacluster technology for managing air quality and other Sharp equipment for monitoring room temperature and humidity.

This enables Sharp to collect data on strawberry cultivation techniques and use that data to achieve stable production of high-quality strawberries.

Using technology and know-how developed in the laboratory tests, Sharp said it aims to launch a plant factory engineering business in cooperation with local partners.

The business will encompass a range of aspects, from factory design to the provision of monitoring and maintenance services.

Sharp is not the first Asian technology company to involve itself in the fruit business. Lenovo owns a global fruit-sourcing subsidiary called Joyvio, which launched in May.

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Posted by: Balraj

The Indian business family Ambanis started this sort of venture long time before Sharp and Lenovo got into it. When Reliance started to grow mangoes in their farms it was 100% natural, which they sold through their Reliance Fresh supermarket chains. We have to wait and see how Sharp will be successful in their strawberries business in the Middle East! In fact, they might use their LED technology more profitably for agriculture (as their peers have not ventured into that) than competing with the Sony-Samsung JV in the fiercely competitive flat screen panel market. As they have their own underutilized facility in Jebel Ali and they don't have to develop a new technology, the business risk is also low. So nothing much to loose. Good strategy.

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