Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

’S-Korea and Asia make a perfect market for berries given low energy cost and high product prices’

"Our fully automated strawberry growing system allows us to harvest high-quality strawberries 24/7 without the need for skilled growers," says Dongho Park, founder and CEO of PARUS. The company's automated systems manage temperature, humidity, light, CO2, and nutrients to create optimal growing conditions, ensuring maximum yield and quality.

The PARUS team in a vertical farm

Overcoming challenges
Growing strawberries indoors presents unique challenges compared to leafy vegetables. According to Dongho, "The lack of experience with indoor growing and complex environmental control issues make it difficult. Understanding the characteristics of strawberry plants is crucial for designing appropriate systems."

The automated systems at PARUS mitigate these challenges by reducing the need for manual intervention. "Once the grower selects the variety and clicks the start button, all parameters are run automatically. This technology is essential for the success of indoor strawberry vertical cultivation," Dongho affirms.

Deep R&D base
PARUS has spent years perfecting its automation technology. "We have proven that our system works. We started with R&D in strawberry vertical farming and now have projects in South Korea, China, and the Netherlands," says Dongho.

The automated strawberry growing system at PARUS utilizes a range of advanced technologies. "What we try to do is automate the difficult decisions for the growers, limiting the allowance of pests and human errors. The system includes software, sensors, and precise environmental controls, ensuring stable and sustainable production," says Sandro van Kouteren, Director of PARUS Europe.

He also highlights the hydroponic method used at PARUS, which allows for continuous year-round growth. "We can grow the same plant for 15-16 months, unlike traditional substrate-based methods which max out at 5-6 months," he explains. This approach not only saves on substrate costs but also improves plant longevity and yield.

Pollination in the PARUS system is also automated. "We use air and brushes for pollination, which is very fast and convenient for indoor farming," says Dongho. Additionally, PARUS is developing robotic solutions for harvesting, although manual labor is still being used. "We are prepping a robot to do that for us, but it's still a bit slow," Sandro admits.

Southeast Asia: high potential
The market for PARUS's automated systems is growing, particularly in Asia. "The best market is Korea because energy costs are meager and berry prices are very high," says Dongho. The system is also gaining interest in Southeast Asia, where many countries rely on imported strawberries. In Europe, high energy costs and economic instability pose challenges. "The EU market is interesting, but the market needs to be more stable to accept these systems," Sandro notes. Despite these challenges, PARUS is optimistic about the future. "We have proven that we can run a vertical farm successfully and are confident in our ability to guarantee success," Dongho asserts.

Currently, PARUS is constructing five 600-square-meter, 8-layer standard strawberry cultivation facilities in South Korea. At the request of the agricultural government, a 2,500-square-meter project with 8 automated layers is being undertaken in Beijing. Additionally, PARUS is conducting a significant R&D project in Shanghai spanning 200 square meters and is in discussions for a 20,000-square-meter strawberry cultivation system. Furthermore, a fully automated strawberry vertical farm will be installed in the Philippines next month, and PARUS is engaged in discussions for strawberry vertical farm projects in Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam.

For more information:
Dongho Park, Founder and CEO
[email protected]
Sandro van Kouteren, Director Europe
[email protected]