China's largest intelligent tomato greenhouses (50,000 square meter greenhouse)

The quality and flavor profile of red, bold, and juicy tomatoes are making them popular at supermarket chains across China, from Carrefour and Beijing to Metro and Shanghai, but the real success story of these salad lovers lies somewhere else.

One of China's largest intelligent tomato greenhouses has invested 320 million dollars in developing a smart computer-controlled system for its 50,000 square meter greenhouse in Beijing.

Outside look of a greenhouse 

But what distinguishes this greenhouse from others? To monitor, control, and improve the environment, the facility has intelligent software coupled to sensors put on-site. The sensors collect data on air temperature and humidity, light CO2 concentration, and soil moisture, among other characteristics. The signals are then sent to a computer terminal, where they are analyzed and compared to optimal standards before commands are automatically issued to a network of hardware for climate control. With this approach, shutters can be rolled down to prevent excess heat, irrigation systems can be ordered to dispense more or less water, and fogging fans and misting nozzles can be adjusted in response to changing environmental conditions.

Tomatoes in greenhouse 

 

Picture from the greenhouse 

The use of high technology has resulted in high-efficiency farming, with a tomato yield per square meter of around 30 kilograms, six times that of a traditional solar greenhouse, and it's not just about quantity; it's also about quality, at a time when commercially grown tomatoes are lacking in flavor. Tomatoes are a sweet and delicious treat for the taste receptors. The advanced automated system has also decreased the demand for manual employees, making life easier for farmers and their families.


Another assurance is food safety. To avoid pathogen growth in the air, soil, and water, the greenhouse is sterilized on a regular basis, and coconut residue is utilized as a substrate to reduce soil-borne infections. In addition to the array of technological tools in use at the facility, varieties with strong disease resistance are selected for breeding and managed in a scientific way in order to cultivate healthy and strong plants. Pollination is still done in the most traditional way possible with the help of bumblebees, which also serve as quality inspectors in China. 

Outside of China's mainland, the greenhouse feeds Hong Kong markets and plans to expand into Russia. The international expansion of Japan and South Korea means greater work chances for local farmers.


The greenhouse draws on a long history of farming to chart its own course, tailored to the needs of the Chinese market. The cultivation and management procedures are based on Dutch technology that has been adapted and refined to fit China's climatic circumstances.



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