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Artificial intelligence helps grow exotic mushrooms in Russia

29 Oct '20
City Farmer, a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation's Biomedical Technologies Cluster, and the Magnit retail chain have launched the first compact shiitake plant in Russia in test mode. The process is controlled entirely remotely using artificial intelligence.

The farm is a modular prefabricated facility with an area of ​​120 sq. m and installed in the Magnit mushroom complex in the Krasnodar Territory. The construction technology allows you to increase the number of modules depending on your needs. From the moment of launch to the first harvest, no more than two weeks pass.

The system developed by the Skolkovo company with artificial intelligence elements in real time maintains optimal conditions for mushroom growing in the city farm: it controls climatic parameters, the operation of sensors and controllers, energy recovery, etc.
Viktor Nikitin, Director of City Farmer: “Programmable logic controllers installed in a mushroom farm monitor the processes and support the accepted technological parameters in automatic mode. In case of any deviations, the system promptly sends notifications to the responsible persons and to the central control room, which allows you to quickly solve emerging problems. ”
To maintain maximum quality, mushrooms are picked manually, put in trays and immediately sent to the zone rapid cooling and packaging. At the first stage, the productivity of the farm is almost 1.5 tons of mushrooms per month.

So far, products under the Magnit Svezhest brand are supplied only to the stores of the Krasnodar Territory, Moscow, Leningrad and Tyumen regions. This volume is enough to make a decision on the development of the project: the company's experts will assess the demand for a high-quality product from buyers in different regions.
Yulia Krymova, Director of the Vegetables and Fruits Category Department of the Magnit retail chain: “We are constantly expanding our offer in the Fruits and Vegetables category due to an interesting assortment and strive to differentiate ourselves from competitors. The company's own mushroom complex already produces a wide range of champignons for the chain's stores, now we are testing shiitake cultivation. Now all the necessary processes are being worked out, since this is a new direction for us. We want to see how buyers perceive the offer, for this we will test the mini-farm for several months. Efficiency, first of all, will be evaluated by the sales figures. ”
For Russia, shiitake are exotic mushrooms and are practically not grown on an industrial scale. They are rich in vitamins, amino acids, trace elements. They are eaten raw and also added to soups, salads and side dishes.
Sophia Romashchenko, project manager of the Skolkovo Foundation's Biomedical Technologies Cluster: “The foundation of the agriculture of the future will be startups that create urban plantations. The company City Farmer is distinguished by modern agricultural technologies and unique experience in growing shiitake mushrooms. This product is in strong consumer demand, which may ensure the success of the project in the near future. ”

Reference Information

The Skolkovo Foundation
is a non-profit organization created in 2010 and acting as the managing company of the Skolkovo Innovation Center. The purpose of the Foundation is to support technological entrepreneurship in Russia and commercialize the results of research activities. The number of Skolkovo residents has already exceeded 2,500. The Fund provides them with a range of services necessary to bring developments to the Russian and international markets. Resident status gives the company tax and customs benefits. In 2019, the residents' revenue amounted to more than 100 billion rubles, and the amount of investments attracted by them exceeded 13 billion rubles. Since 2019, the law allows any organization engaged in research activities in Russia to gain access to all the services and benefits of the Innovation Center. The Skolkovo Innovation Center hosts the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), one of the top 100 young universities in the world according to Nature Index. The infrastructure of the Innovation Center is made up, in particular, of Europe's largest Technopark and research centers of industrial partners. In 2019, three new partner R&D centers were opened in the Innovation Center - Sibur, TMK and Tatneft. On the territory of Skolkovo, a total of more than 750 thousand square meters have already been commissioned. m. residential areas, research and educational centers. Off-budget investments in infrastructure creation exceeded RUB 100 billion.

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