|n.thing's 'Planty Square' was transported to Busan Port on June 20 for export to Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, the following month. Courtesy of n.thing|
By Ko Dong-hwan
A Korean artificial farming technology developer has sent its first "farm" to the Middle East, boosting the start-up's global competitiveness in the promising industry.
"Planty Cube," a white, 12.2-meter container created by n.thing, was shipped to Abu Dhabi from Busan Port in South Gyeongsang Province, on July 6, the Seoul-based company told The Korea Times.
Inside the module-type smart farm in the shape of a shipping container are multi-stacked rows of water troughs on both sides. Small pots called "Pickcells" can be slotted on each trough where seeds of whatever farmers want can be sown. The plants can then grow without human hands, with a computerized system controlling the environment from temperature to humidity and disease elements.
The maneuver happens in a control room outside the container. The room oversees inside all Planty Cubes, remotely changing the isolated spaces' conditions automatically and manually, based on each plant's "recipe" data.
The latest export to the United Arab Emirates city will first grow romaine lettuce. It will diversify its crops based on distribution data from the city's markets. The cultivated crops, from salads to herbs, will then be distributed to fresh vegetable markets.
|Inside Planty Cube, the isolated environment's temperature, humidity and disease elements can be remotely controlled from outside. Courtesy of n.thing|
"Those who influence the Middle Eastern smart farm markets quickly will eventually lead the industry on a global scale," said n.thing strategy officer Han Seung-soo.
"No smart farmer has yet stood tall in the region. We will move fast and aggressively to make our name known in the industry."
The Middle East, where many smart farm companies from different countries have ventured, has been supporting the industry because growing vegetables there in traditional methods is difficult because of the hot desert climate and a shortage of farm land and water.
In March this year, n.thing CEO Leo Kim signed a partnership with a major Korean conglomerate and then with an international trader in Abu Dhabi to mass-produce the cubes and auxiliary system parts.
Established in 2014, n.thing's smart farm modules can be linked to each other, making it easy for users to increase or decrease the capacity of their farm businesses. The company said the convenience differentiated the product from factory-type smart farms that could only be vertical.