What is Imec® (Film Farming)
Imec® ( Film Farming ) is the world’s first hydrogel membrane based agro-technology to address some of the serious issues that our world communities’ face today regarding food shortage, water scarcity and land contamination.
In Imec®, plants are cultivated and grown on a thin Film made of hydrogel which absorbs water and nutrients through its numerous nano-sized pores but blocks germs and viruses. Therefore, Film ensures the health of the plant and the safe produce even without the use of chemicals.
Low usage of water attributed to hydrogel property of Film accelerates synthesis of sugar, amino acid, etc., leading to high sweetness and nutrition.
Imec® system is easy and simple to set up, and cost effective. The system is comprised of water supplying unit and planting bed composed of Film, unwoven fabrics, waterproof sheet and two irrigation tubes.
Imec® system enables farming “Anywhere” such as on desert land or even on concrete by separating the plant from the ground by the waterproof sheet. Furthermore, the system dramatically reduces the consumption of water and fertilizer and also the environmental burden, because the waterproof sheet perfectly prevents the runoff of supplied water and fertilizer to outside.
High Quality Tomato Production
Imec® was first commercialized in tomato production in Japan during 2009.
Today, the footprint of commercial Imec® farms has grown to over 25 acres and is currently growing. Tomatoes produced in Imec® farms are enjoying a good reputation due to its aroma & flavor, sweet taste and high levels of nutritions such as amino acids, GBA, lycopene, etc.
The Imec® tomatoes are about triple in trade price compared to other tomatoes. Besides tomato, Mebiol is planning commercialization of Imec® melon, strawberry, paprika, greens like lettuce. Mebiol challenges to produce tree fruits like grape in future.
Initial & Running Expenses and Profitability
Imec® initial expense is much lower than hydroponics, because Imec® needs no expensive circulation & sterilization systems of massive culture medium, differently from hydroponics.
Imec® running expense is also much lower than hydroponics, because hydroponics uses much more water, fertilizer, energy and manpower due to the high-volume production of tomato. On the other hand, the sales of tomato in Imec® is similar to hydroponics, because Imec® tomato yield is less than hydroponics but the trading price of Imec® tomato is much higher than hydroponics, leading to the similar sales.
Consequently, Imec® profitability becomes much higher than hydroponics. According to recent consumer survey, consumers are apt to select safe and nutritious vegetables even if the price is higher. The trend of “ from quantity to quality ” is fitted to Imec® concept.
Farming for Anybody and Everybody
Soil plays a major role in farming but the control of soil functions is very difficult, because the property of soil is different from place to place and from season to season. By way of analogy, the experienced farmer who has developed how to make a good soil spending long time, can’t teach it to his son.
This is a big hurdle of rejuvenation of farmers. In Imec® the soil is replaced by an industrial product, Film. Therefore, even inexperienced young guy can quickly acquire the farming technology. It is said that it takes about 10 years to make good soil for growth of high quality tomato called “Fruit Tomato” in Japan. Many young guys who acquired Imec® within one year, are producing and selling “Fruit Tomato”. Imec® attracts young people into farming business.
Imec® can grow high quality vegetables on any surface, whether it is on the desert, on contaminated or saline land or even in a building. Imec® farms are now built on desert land in the UAE and are also being built on the tsunami hit lands in the northern part of Japan. This has helped communities to regain hope, economy and create new jobs around barren areas.
Background of Imec® Development & Future
Imec® is an invention of Dr. Yuichi Mori (former Visiting Prof. of Waseda Univ. ) who has over 30 years of experience in developing leading-edge membranes & hydrogels for use in medical products such as haemodialysis, vascular graft and catheter.
Dr. Mori founded Mebiol, Inc. in 1995 with the purpose to apply the medical membrane & hydrogel technologies for agriculture, addressing the issues related to global food scarcity & safety induced by water shortage and soil degradation by global warming.
Dr. Mori continues to advance Imec® related technologies to regenerate the farm lands seriously suffered from the giant tsunami in Japan and to create the production bases of high quality foods in the barren lands abroad.
Patent Protected Technology
The basic patents of Imec® related technologies have applied to over 120 countries and had already been registered in over 70.