Ailing electronics giant Sharp hopes to turn around its fortunes by growing strawberries indoors in Dubai, it seems.
Once a global household name, the former sponsor of Manchester United is losing money so fast that commentators suggest it won't survive another year without a huge cash injection. But its directors plan to cash in on Middle Eastern consumers' penchant for the sweet strawberries from its native Japan, it seems. The firm's using technology to allow the fruit to be grown from seedlings at a facility in the United Arab Emirates by artificially controlling light, temperature and humidity - thus avoiding the problems of berries spoiling during shipping - reports Tokyo's Asahi Shimbun.
It apparently uses LED lights to facilitate photosynthesis. "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 paper. News agency Kyodo says Sharp invested roughly $100,000 to build the laboratory test facility in Dubai. Sharp is now beginning testing of the operation with the aim of growing up to 3,000 strawberries a month, ahead of a planned factory-scale launch in 2015.