Grow­ing pure food at city homes

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 13 Business - By REN XIAOJIN

“Years back, peo­ple used to have small farms in their back­yards,” said Kazuho Ko­moda,a Ja­panese, co-founder of Alesca Life Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd, an agri­cul­tural tech­nol­ogy startup in Bei­jing. “Now peo­ple live in the sky, and city cen­ter real es­tate prices are too ex­pen­sive to be used for farm­ing.”

With no pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence in agri­cul­ture, Ko­moda and his core team of for­mer bankers and traders founded the ur­ban soil­less cul­ti­va­tion com­pany in 2013, in the coun­try’s busiest city, aim­ing to grow safe, sus­tain­able and ac­ces­si­ble food with max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency, in­clud­ing use of spe­cially de­signed con­tain­ers, a prod­uct of Alesca.

“Tra­di­tional farms are far­ther and far­ther away from city cen­ters. Peo­ple use trucks and even air­planes to de­liver food to city cen­ters, caus­ing food waste dur­ing trans­porta­tion; and trans­porta­tion it­self is en­vi­ron­men­tally un­friendly.”

To­gether with the in­ter­net of things to mon­i­tor ev­ery plant, soil­less cul­ti­va­tion, a tech­nol­ogy that Alesca has mas­tered, can fa­cil­i­tate the plea­sur­able cul­ture of grow­ing fruits, veg­eta­bles and herbs in ur­ban homes.

“Firstly, we want to make food safer. The hard part is this: How to make our con­sumers be­lieve that it is safe?” said Ko­moda. “The only an­swer is that the grow­ing process must be seen by the con­sumers, which means, veg­eta­bles must be grown where peo­ple con­sume them.”

Alesca Life tracks data on plants through a cloud-con­nected sen­sor with a growth-man­age­ment app linked to the com­pany’s op­ti­miza­tion plat­form.

“Our old cus­tomers say our prod­ucts taste like the stuff they used to eat when they were young.

“Healthy food is some­thing everyone is look­ing for. China is hav­ing a big tran­si­tion in pur­chas­ing — con­sum­able im­prove­ments. We need to catch this op­por­tu­nity to pen­e­trate the Chi­nese mar­ket,” Ko­moda said. “And our tar­gets now are the food and bev­er­age in­dus­tries.”


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