JD.com, one of China’s largest retail companies, is about to open an enormoud hydroponic establishment in China.
To achieve this, they have partnered up with the Japanese chemical manufacturing company Mitsubishi Chemical, to obtain cutting edge Japanese technology and know-how in the field of large-scale hydroponics.
The initial focus will be on cabbage, red and green lettuce, spinach, and coriander, and the crops will be sold both online and offline. Offline, you will be able to buy them at JD’s 7FRESH supermarkets. Thanks to JD’s extant cold chain logistics network, the greens can be delivered to stores very quickly after being harvested.
“The JD Plant Factory in Tongzhou marks JD’s entry into the very beginning of the fresh food production chain, allowing us to guarantee that the fresh goods we sell have been treated with the care JD applies to everything we do,” said Xiaosong Wang, President of JD FMCG and Food businesses.
Increased control reduces the need for pesticides
The 11,040 square meter large establishment will use solar light for its main hydroponic culturing systems, but there will also be a closed seedling production area lit by artificial light.
All plants will be tracked from the date of planting to the day of delivery, to ensure a higher degree of control and transparency. China has been plagued by several massive food scandals, and consumers – both domestic and abroad – are increasingly demanding higher levels of safety and accountability from food producers.
In JD’s new facility, managers will be able to monitor and adjust key factors such as temperature, humidity and light, and have full control over the fertilizers used and in which amounts. In this super-clean environment, pesticides will not be required, and there are also several other agrochemicals that can be avoided.
A nutrient boost
Efficient application of fertilisers can make food more nutritous. Research carried out for this project show that spinach produced at JD standards in this type of hydroponic set up contained 80% more folate than average. It also had 32% more vitamin C and 25% more potassium than spinach grown in the field.
At the same time, water was utilized in a very efficient manner. Just half a liter of water was enough to grow a whole plant.