Mitsui Fudosan Worldfarm Makes Full-fledged Entry into Vegetable Processing Business
with the Goal of Expanding Sustainable, Smart Farming
- Begins operation of own cut vegetable refrigeration and processing facility in Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture -
November 1, 2021
Mitsui Fudosan Worldfarm Co., Ltd.
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, Japan, November 1, 2021 - Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd., a leading global real estate company headquartered in Tokyo, announced today that Mitsui Fudosan Worldfarm Co., Ltd. (“MFWF”) is developing the sustainable smart farm business to promote Japanese agriculture and create employment in exurban areas. On October 1, 2021, MFWF began operation of a cut vegetable refrigeration and processing factory in Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Features of MFWF’s Refrigeration and Processing Facility
- Start of business integrating production and processing
The facility, with a total floor area of about 991 m2, will refrigerate and process cabbage produced in MFWF’s own fields. It is expected to have a maximum capacity of 10 tons per day, which is large for a processing facility. This will enable integrated production and processing, and make it possible to further expand the size of the fields.
- Working with start-ups to operate a facility that utilizes technology
The facility will deploy solutions from start-ups, etc. in which CVC, under Mitsui Fudosan’s Venture Co-creation Department, has invested. MFWF will work to control product quality and safety and improve productivity.
- Creating an environment for realizing multi-location urban and exurban life
The facility will be equipped with workspaces that can be used for remote work. This will serve as a foothold for realizing diverse lifestyles rooted in agriculture, which MFWF aims to achieve by accommodating a variety of work styles.
- Note: The “Sustainable Smart Farm Business refers to a highly productive farm business model achieved by combining technology with the profitable farming system practiced by World Farm Co., Ltd. to make the process of farming more efficient and to provide more effective human resource development.
Co-working space equipped with Wi-Fi
Employee work space
(1) Start of business integrating production and processing
Since June of 2020, MFWF has begun full-fledged participation in the agriculture business in Tokyo and exurban areas, producing cabbage with the goal of a new form of city development rooted in agriculture that connects people in urban and exurban areas. Beginning this fiscal year, MFWF will also be working to grow spinach, komatsuna, broccoli and other produce.
In the “sustainable smart farm business” MFWF aims for, it is important to improve the efficiency and productivity of operations by integrating farm work from production to processing. To ensure employees working in the fields can move smoothly to processing work, MFWF searched for land that would allow for construction of a processing facility within a 10 km radius of the fields in Chikusei and prepared to build a refrigerated processing facility which has now begun full-scale operations. This will allow for production and processing of up to 10 tons per day of cabbage, and the processing of the entire harvest of cabbage from fields measuring more than 30 hectares. In addition, said facility plans to acquire JFS-B certification, a food safety standard developed in Japan, and will establish a system to deliver safe, secure processed vegetables from production to processing.
MFWF currently farms a total of approximately 20 hectares (as of October, 2021) in Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture and in Utsunomiya and Hagamachi, Tochigi Prefecture. With this facility now in operation, MFWF will be able to further expand these fields and tackle the problem of abandoned land, which has increased due to a lack of successors.
Access to the refrigeration and processing facility
(2) Working with start-ups to operate a facility that utilizes technology
MFWF is a subsidiary under the Mitsui Fudosan Venture Co-creation Department, and began as a new business under its parent company, Mitsui Fudosan. By utilizing the technologies of start-ups and others in which Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) has invested, the division aims to expand the scale of the “sustainable smart farm business,” through efficient farm management and by making visible the production and processing expertise accumulated to date. In addition, MFWF plans rigorous efforts to ensure reliable days off for employees unaffected by weather conditions and to reduce working hours, something only possible through integrated production and processing operations.
◇ Real-time temperature and humidity control (Technology provided by SenseWay Inc.)
SenseWay’s IoT sensing service (temperature and humidity control sensors) have been deployed in the facility with the goal of controlling the quality of products produced at the refrigeration and processing facility, with real-time temperature and humidity detection and control performed 365 days a year.
◇ Records of accidents, etc. (Technology provided by Crew Systems, Inc.)
Security cameras will be deployed throughout the facility to record accidents and human error while working, leading to root causes and improvements. In the future, MFWF will consider equipping these with AI functions and introducing systems to improve workability through analysis of worker dynamics.
Cameras installed in the facility
Crew Systems management screen
◇ Facial recognition access control (Technology provided by Safie Inc.)
MFWF will deploy Safie Entrance, a facial recognition access control system, in an effort to strengthen security from the perspective of food defense.
Safie management screen
◇ Field monitoring using GPS (Technology provided by Vegetalia, Inc.)
MFWF aims to achieve data-driven smart farming through implementation of GPS functions and outdoor cameras to record product growth and field monitoring of microclimates and soil.
Vegetalia weather sensor
(3) Creating an environment for realizing multi-location urban and exurban life
The cities of Utsunomiya and Hagamachi in Tochigi Prefecture, and Chikusei in Ibaraki Prefecture, where the fields are located, are located within 100 km of central Tokyo, making day trips and overnight stays possible. Taking advantage of the good access to central Tokyo, MFWF has set up a work space in the factory where people can work remotely, to increase not only the number of full-fledged farm workers, but also the farming-related population—those more casually involved in farming. In addition to the utilization of technology, MFWF is also conscious of the importance of work-life balance, and by creating an environment where employees can have time for themselves, will contribute to securing young leaders and creating jobs in farming in Japan.
Meeting room equipped with web conferencing
◇ Cooperation in agriculture-based city development (Partner company: AGRIMEDIA Inc.)
With the goal of developing cities in which people who are interested in agriculture in various ways can collaborate with one another, MFWF is discussing measures to increase the farming-related population by encouraging these people to come together and interact in Chikusei and other regions where MFWF has developed its fields. MFWF is also considering creating a working environment in which young people seeking jobs in farming can share their needs, making it easier to work and get together.
Goal for agriculture-rooted city development with AGRIMEDIA
■Future MFWF Developments
MFWF currently has 10 employees and manages about 20 hectares of fields. MFWF’s goal is to expand that to about 100 hectares in exurban areas of the Tokyo Metropolis, and further by 2040 to about 3,000 hectares of fields under management in 30 locations nationwide. To that end, in addition to completing construction of this facility, MFWF plans to commence operation of a freezing facility on the same premises in December 2022.
< Schedule >
|Commence operation of a freezing facility in Chikusei, Ibaraki Prefecture
|Plan to operate a total of 100 hectares in about 300 locations in exurban areas of Metropolitan Tokyo
|Plan to operate a total of 3,000 hectares in 30 locations nationwide
|Mitsui Fudosan Worldfarm Co., Ltd. Cut Vegetable Plant
|1284-1 Nanbara, Shimoezure, Chikusei City, Ibaraki Prefecture
|30 minutes by car from JR Oyama Station 5 minutes by car from Kawashima Station on the Mito Line
|Total floor area
|Plant, warehouse, office
|Number of buildings
|Akiyama Komuten Co., Ltd.
< Facility Description >
■Comment from Hirofumi Iwasaki, President & CEO of Mitsui Fudosan Worldfarm Co., Ltd.
(Also affiliated with Mitsui Fudosan’s Venture Co-creation Department)
MFWF has analyzed the ever-changing market around processed and commercial vegetables, and will work to supply products that meet the needs of our customers. Leveraging the unique features of our business, which integrates everything from production to processing, we also ensure traceability from cultivation to processing. At the same time, in an effort to offer safe, reliable, domestically processed vegetables, we are creating a system to ensure rigorous hygienic control and an operation that prevents injuries and accidents.
■Mitsui Fudosan Worldfarm Co., Ltd. [WEB](https://www.mfwf.co.jp/)
MFWF was established in June 2020, by World Farm, which practices profitable agriculture with the goal of solving the issues facing agriculture in Japan, including profitability and an aging workforce, and by Mitsui Fudosan, which has focused on city development primarily around central Tokyo. It develops sustainable smart farms in exurban areas to increase the number of agricultural workers, help promote agriculture in Japan and contribute to the stable supply of safe and secure Japan-grown vegetables. In addition, by providing employment opportunities with diverse ways of participating in agriculture and facilitating interactions and knowledge sharing between people from urban and exurban areas through agriculture, the new company will further increase agricultural productivity and, moreover, help form cities where new industries are created linking urban and exurban areas rooted in agriculture.
■Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. [WEB]Venture Co-creation Department(https://www.mitsuifudosan.co.jp/english/venture/)
Mitsui Fudosan is striving to co-create business with startups to create new industries with a view to expanding its business domains and bolstering its core operations. In April 2015, Mitsui Fudosan set up the Venture Co-creation Department. Leveraging the operation of offices for startups and its expansive business ecosystem and diverse array of business fields, Mitsui Fudosan targets the co-creation of new industries with startups based on the three pillars of finance, community, and support.
■Mitsui Fudosan Group’s Contribution to SDGs
The Mitsui Fudosan Group aims for a society that enriches both people and the planet under the principles of coexist in harmony with society, link diverse values and achieve a sustainable society, and advances business with an awareness of the environment (E), society (S) and governance (G), thus promoting ESG management. By further accelerating its ESG management, the Group will realize Society 5.0, which the Japanese government has been advocating, and contribute significantly to achieving the SDGs.
* The initiatives covered in this press release are contributing to four of the UN’s SDGs.
|Decent Work and Economic Growth
|Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
|Sustainable Cities and Communities
|Partnerships for the Goals