Idle Fujitsu plant turned into vegetable factory in Aizuwakamatsu

A ceremony was held on Jan. 25 to mark the official opening of a large vegetable factory in the premises of Fujitsu Ltd.'s idled semiconductor plant in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. The factory is producing low-potassium leaf lettuce on a demonstration basis at a facility of the Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd. plant. It will handle the whole process of production ranging from seed sowing to shipment. The "Aizuwakamatsu Akisai Vegetable Factory" has been converted from the plant's 2,000-square-meter semiconductor-manufacturing clean room facility. Akisai is the name given to Fujitsu's cloud-based technology for food and agricultural production. The factory will begin shipment in mid-February. Initial daily output will be 1,800 heads of leaf lettuce, to be boosted to a maximum 3,500 from March. The space for production is expected to be expanded by 1,000 square meters in the future. About 30 people have been added to the workforce for the project. Staff will be increased as output grows. The product, containing 86% less potassium on average, is intended for people requiring dialysis. Produced in a clean-room environment, it features few bacteria and a longer shelf life. Main customers will include hospitals and department stores in and outside Fukushima. Annual sales are targeted at about 150 million yen in the initial year of fiscal 2014 and 400 million yen in the third year of fiscal 2016. Photo caption: A clean-room facility where low-potassium leaf lettuce is produced under the surveillance of company staff (Translated by Kyodo News)