Wasabi grown at super-high speed in greenhouse(ワサビ、温室で超促成栽培)

Wasabi grown by Agricore in a super-fast forcing cultivation.(アグリ・コア社が超促成栽培したワサビ)

 Technology that dramatically speeds up the growth of wasabi in greenhouses has been developed by an agricultural firm in Soma.
 Agricore Corp., which licenses cultivation technology for farm products, found during research and development that by using a soil specially cultured with microorganisms, the heat tolerance of wasabi, which usually requires clear streams and a cool environment, was increased, allowing it to be cultivated even at temperatures of 30 C.


 The company has a greenhouse located in Soma with a cultivation area of 3,300 square meters. The wasabi grows its dark green leaves in neatly arranged tall gutters. Five employees, including three part-time workers, take care of 10,000 wasabi plants. A control system developed in-house saves labor by adjusting the greenhouse environment based on temperature and humidity data that is collected by sensors.


 Harvested wasabi are separated into leaves, or hawasabi, which are eaten as pickles, and rhizomes, which are grounded into wasabi seasoning. They are shipped to farm stands in the city, hotels in the prefecture and other places.
 "The aroma and pungency of the wasabi are as good as those of wasabi grown in the open," Hiroshi Ikemi, 49, manager of Agricore's farm, said proudly.


 Agricore also succeeded in shortening the cultivation period, making it possible to harvest hawasabi in only 2½ months, instead of the usual 2½ years to three years required from planting to harvest. Furthermore, it confirmed that the rhizome, whose growth requires clean water, grew to about 10 centimeters in 1½ years -- which is about the same period it takes to grow in a stream -- in the cultured soil to be ready for shipment.


 According to the company, domestic wasabi production has declined by more than 30% over the past decade due to global warming and natural disasters. In Fukushima Prefecture, the cultivation area has shrunk drastically since the 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, prompting Agricore to begin developing cultivation technology in 2018.
 Cultivation using the technology will begin this year in eight locations across Japan.
 "The production is stable throughout the year regardless of location or weather conditions," Ikemi said. "We hope to make wasabi more accessible."

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2023年1月10日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】