“It’s true that we use more energy compared to production using the sun, but on the other hand our productivity is higher over a similar surface area,” he said.
The system allows the firm to produce eight crops of lettuce per year, irrespective of the season. Spread also uses significantly less water than traditional agricultural methods.
“I believe we are contributing to a sustainable agriculture for our society,” claims Inada.
Japan already has around 200 lettuce factories using artificial light but the majority of these are small-scale but according to specialist consultancy group Innoplex, such factories will double in number by 2025.
And other companies are jumping on the smart-agriculture bandwagon, with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical building a factory in northeastern Fukushima that will produce 32,000 heads of lettuce daily.
Nor is its just lettuce: tomatoes and strawberries grown by computer under artificial light are on their way to a table near you.
PICTURES BY CHARLY TRIBBALEAU