Toshiba converts idle semiconductor factories to vegetable farm

TOSHIBA has converted one of its former semiconductor plants in Yokosuka into a vegetable farm with the aim of producing 3 million bags of vegetables a year.

Shipment of the first crop of vegetables from the clean room farm is scheduled for the end of October.

Toshiba’s says its closed-type plant factory uses state-of-the-art technology to raise crops and operates under almost aseptic conditions. Crops being grown in the idle semiconductor factory include leaf lettuce, baby leaf greens, spinach, mizuna and herbs.

The diversification into agriculture could bring in 300 million yen of income for Toshiba in vegetable sales.

Toshiba is utilising the existing cleanroom infrastructure in its plant factories to grow the vegetables in close to sterile conditions. By minimising the presence and thus the damage caused by germs, Toshiba says its crops have an extended period of freshness and shelf life.

The factory is equipped with a wide range of technologies and know-how from across Toshiba Group, including fluorescent lighting with an output wavelength optimised for vegetable growth; air-conditioning systems that maintain constant temperature and moisture level; remote monitoring systems to track growth; and sterilisation systems for packing materials.

Toshiba is also using a production management system based on that used for its semiconductor device production.