Sharp is planning to start cultivating strawberries on a factory scale basis in the United Arab Emirates in fiscal 2015. It hopes the project will grow into a new line of business that can help rebuild the company. It apparently uses LED lights to facilitate photosynthesis reports Tokyo’s Asahi Shimbun.
“If we can generate results in cultivating strawberries, a plant that is difficult to grow, we can apply the technology to other farm products,” a company official is quoted as telling the Kyodo newspaper agency.
Japanese strawberries are sold for high prices in overseas markets, such as in the Middle East. But because strawberries are perishable and quick to spoil, distributing them overseas has always been difficult.
The Osaka-based company invested roughly $100,000, or 9.9 million yen, to build the laboratory test facility on the premises of its local sales subsidiary in Dubai, where up to 3,000 strawberries can be produced per month.
Sharp was once the principal sponsor of Manchester United Football Club from 1983 until 2000. 2012 was the 100th anniversary for Sharp but it announced the worst financial record in its history, with a loss of 376b yen (US$ 4.7 billion) on April 2012. In September, Sharp announced massive job cuts.