At SARA —which stands for Smart Agribusiness Research & Alliance — we want everyone to be able to enjoy fresh, tasty vegetables year-round, secure in the knowledge that those vegetables are safe and healthy. To achieve this goal, we are combining our leading-edge horticulture technology with state-of-the-art renewable energy technology to create an efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective agricultural system that integrates the knowledge and the needs of all stakeholders and business partners, including producers, distributors, and consumers.
For our debut, we have chosen as our stage a vast area of reclaimed land in Kasaoka Bay, Okayama Prefecture. One of the four largest areas of reclaimed land in Japan, this region’s virgin soil provides the perfect environment for an entirely new approach to farming. Working closely with local communities, while engaging in intensive research and development, as well as developing strategic relationships with a variety of companies, we propose to establish an agricultural model that will connect us to the future.
Our strength lies not only in the size of our company, but in the scope of our ambition. Our commitment is to grow into a future vegetable company not just in Japan, but in all of Asia, evolving the leading-edge cultivation technologies we now possess into something even more advanced and efficient.
In cooperation with Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects — a world-class Dutch horti-tech company that boasts some of the world’s most advanced technology and sophisticated management know-how, we will build three massive semi-closed greenhouses covering on a site measuring about 18.3 hectares (45.2 acres). The greenhouse for bell peppers will cover an area of 3.2 hectares (7.9 acres), the one for tomatoes 5.7 hectares (14.0 acres), and the one for lettuce 2.2 hectares (about 5.4 acres), making this the largest-scale operation of its kind in Japan.
To power the greenhouses, we are building a clean energy biomass power generation plant that will generate energy by burning woodchips. Some of the electricity created here will be supplied to the greenhouses, while the rest will be used to supply the heating, dehumidification, and carbon dioxide required for the cultivation of vegetables. The result is a totally sustainable, recycling-oriented facility capable not only of meeting its own energy needs, but also those of the surrounding community. Electricity produced by the power generation plant will be fed into the grid via the local electric power company in accordance with the Feed-in Tariff Scheme for Renewable Energy.
In other words, SARA simultaneously implements both agricultural and energy operations. The underlying philosophy is that natural food should be produced using wholesome, human-scale techniques. It is a project that embodies Japan’s most advanced, largest-scale smart agriculture operations while at the same time remaining committed to the fundamental principles of agriculture. The result is both transformative and innovative — a new way of producing vegetables that restores the human touch that ties us to the earth.
Safe, reliable, delicious vegetables are cultivated in greenhouses which feature the world’s most advanced technology. The sunlight of the “Land of Sunshine” or Okayama Prefecture is maximally absorbed using special glass, and the facilities are operated by clean energy.
The electricity, heat, and carbon dioxide created by the biomass power generation plant using fuel originated from woodchips are utilized for the cultivation of vegetables. Moreover, the power generated also serves the energy needs of local communities via the local electric power company.
SARA’s projects will be built in partnership with companies that are at the top of their respective fields whether they are in Japan or overseas — such as Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects of the Netherlands and Takuma of Japan. The latter offers the most advanced technology and know-how in biomass power generation currently available in Japan while the former is a leader in agricultural technology.
Ultimately our goal is to expand beyond the framework of Japan and Asia. Now underway is a scheme called “Global Conference” in which the most advanced research results in this field will be shared with our partners in Europe, North America, and Australia.
Fresh, wholesome, sustainable food is a worldwide issue. That is why SARA’s operations are guided by a global perspective. We are committed to pushing forward with technological innovation that will help move us to a healthier and more sustainable future. And it all begins with vegetables.
We plan to cultivate colorful vegetables used for salads
— such as tomatoes, bell peppers, and leaf lettuce.
Not only will we grow and sell vegetables, we will support our customers’ healthy daily lives by creating a selection of menus that will add a bit of color and nutrition to their tables. Our goal is to produce tasty vegetables that our customers can enjoy every day.
Because variables such as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide level, airflow, nutrient solutions, and so on can all be precisely regulated by computer control, an environment ideal for vegetable growth can be provided 24 hours a day, all year round. This will make it possible to offer vegetables — which are grown in organic cultivation beds and in pots — that are not only safe, reliable, and delicious, but are also attractively priced.
Distribution and Sale of Vegetables
SARA is aiming for multi-item high-volume cultivation, not single-item mass cultivation, in each vegetable category. By achieving this, we will be able to propose items, packaging types, and quantities that will meet the needs of our clients on a seasonal basis.
We plan to ship about 4,000 tonnes of tomatoes , 1,000 tonnes of bell peppers, and 1,300 tonnes of leaf lettuce annually. Fresh and delicious vegetables will be delivered in whole form to homes, in appropriately cut form to supermarkets and convenience stores, and in both forms to the food service sector.
|Company Name||SARA Inc.|
|Board of Directors||
|Head Office||95-1, Heisei-cho, Kasaoka-City, Okayama Prefecture 714-0054, Japan
|Established||Mar 28, 2016|
|Equity Capital||1054.6 million Yen (JPY)|
|Number of Associates||200 (as of Jan,2020)|
|Main Business||Operation of advanced greenhouse horticulture and biomass power plant|
There is a very good reason why SARA is establishing its facilities in Kasaoka City, Okayama Prefecture. That's because this region has four distinct geographical advantages.
To operate SARA’s facilities, we need a large area of flat land.
SARA is located on Kasaoka Bay Reclaimed Land,
which is one of the four largest reclaimed lands (Hachirogata, Nakaumi, Kasaoka Bay, and Ariake Sea) in Japan.
This land was developed as part of a national reclamation project which was completed in 1990.
Promotion of reclaimed land agriculture has long been an issue for Kasaoka City.
Recognizing that this project would be beneficial for both SARA and Kasaoka City,
we decided to establish our project on Kasaoka Bay Reclaimed Land.
No matter how advanced the technology, sunlight remains absolutely essential for greenhouse cultivation.
Known as the “Land of Sunshine,” Okayama Prefecture enjoys lots of sunshine throughout the year.
Kasaoka City is warm and relatively dry, typifying the climate of the Seto Inland Sea region,
which is said to be similar to that of the Mediterranean Sea.
With annual precipitation of about 1,100 mm and annual sunshine of about 2,100 hours,
this region offers an ideal natural environment for vegetable cultivation.
Water is also absolutely essential for vegetable cultivation.
Not only does the city of Kasaoka provide abundant agriculture water from the Takahashi River, but a comprehensive water-related infrastructure already exists that includes industrial water and wastewater treatment facilities that are critical to the operation of biomass power generation facilities.
Lots of sun and water — these are always the prerequisite elements for cultivation of high-quality vegetables, no matter what the time or place.
A large amount of vegetables will be shipped from the large-scale greenhouses every day.
This means that good distribution accessibility is also a must.
As for overland routes, the National Route 2 Bypass is near SARA and the Kasaoka Interchange of the Sanyo Expressway, which transverses the Chugoku Region, is also nearby.
Seaway distribution is also possible using the New Kasaoka Port. The most important thing about vegetables is freshness.
In this sense, Kasaoka City, also blessed with good distribution accessibility, provides an environment that makes it possible to transport large quantities of vegetables, while keeping them fresh.
A project like this is only possible in locations which offer both excellent environmental conditions and superior infrastructure. Kasaoka City meets those conditions and all of us at SARA look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Kasaoka City.