Gallant Venture partners with Obayashi Corporation – one of Japan’s largest general contractors – to pilot an eco-tourism agritech park and greenhouse on Bintan island, Indonesia.
The Joint Development Agreement Signing Ceremony in Singapore this week will also include PT Persada Hijau Cemerlang (PHC), a company owned by Gallant Venture and Salim Group, and will work with Obayashi Corporation to fine-tune the tech required to build the Gallant Obayashi Green Agritech Park – a greenhouse optimised for the tropical climate.
The Gallant Obayashi Green Agritech Park aims to cultivate premium crops with improved sustainability and higher yields. Crops will be exported to Singapore and neighbouring countries. A Visitor and Education Centre for tourists and students is also planned to help promote agritech.
The imminent launch of the Bintan Resorts International Airport and the upcoming Bintan-Batam sea bridge is expected to increase tourism demand for Bintan island. In response, Gallant Venture CEO Eugene Park says Bintan Resorts’ hotel room inventory is expected to increase five-fold to 10,000.
According to Park, Bintan is renowned for its range of opportunities from industrial development to leisure and hospitality experiences.
“Since our beginnings over 30 years ago Bintan Resorts has been focused on delivering a world class tourism experience to international and domestic tourists coming to Bintan. Before sustainability became a buzz word we were already implementing sustainable development – with the results that today we welcome over 1.2 million visitors a year to our resorts without drawing water from our underground aquifers. Our long term strategy of building dams and reservoirs and capturing and treating rainwater to provide clean WHO standard water to our guests has helped us to prove to the world that we can develop without harming the environment. Similarly, every drop of waste water is treated before being released back into the environment – so we leave minimal trace of our activities on the beautiful natural environment in Bintan,” says Park.
With increasing interest in Ecotourism, Park argues that tourists want more than just sitting on a beach, but rather, seek more experiential and learning opportunities during vacations.
“This latest venture touches on food security and sustainability and its impact on the environment. By raising more of the food needed in areas close or adjacent to the places of use, we not only create new local jobs, but reduce the carbon footprint of transporting food long distances. We have always championed the local farm ecosystem because of Bintan’s bauxite type soil; it is often not possible to raise the crops demanded by the international guests of our hotels. With the advanced technology of our Japanese partners at Obayashi, we are able to quickly and efficiently increase crop yields, compared to open farming, by up to 14 times more, while utilising up to 90 percent less water. With this new JV, we are proud to take the next step in showing our ecotourism capabilities to the increasingly sensitive international traveller by creating a secure sustainable quality controlled food chain for our guests through this technology driven greenhouse system,” says Park.
According to Park, Gallant Venture will ultimately develop over 20,000 hectares of land in Bintan. Park claims once the yield is sufficient for the island’s consumption, they will aim to produce “completely traceable sustainable fresh organic produce” from the farm in Bintan to tables in Singapore within hours of harvesting.
Obayashi Corporation Managing Executive Officer, GM of Technology Business Development Division, Yuichi Yamamoto says the combination of construction and plant physiology know-how makes sustainable greenhouses possible. Most crops in the Southeast Asian region are grown on open farms which use a high volume of water. while current greenhouse technology may boost productivity, conventional structures require constant climate control in tropical climates, making their use costly and unsustainable.
“The Gallant Obayashi Green Agritech Park will leverage on environmental controls to create optimal growth conditions for Japanese-grade cherry tomatoes and kale. With [our] technology and experience in understanding plant physiology, the high-tech greenhouse will also utilise heat and air flow analysis. The greenhouse will be equipped with a complex environmental control system that regulates temperature, humidity and light intensity to maximise crop production and quality as well as reduce water usage. As part of the Obayashi Sustainability Vision 2050, we have begun several new initiatives including developing a proven model cultivating premium cherry tomatoes at our greenhouse in Katori City, Japan…several sites across the region were evaluated. Bintan emerged as the choice location with its rich resources and close proximity to Singapore,” says Yamamoto.
(Ed. Gallant Venture Ltd is a public-listed company in Singapore focusing on commercial development and growth opportunities in the Riau Archipelago of Indonesia. Its major shareholder is Indonesia’s Salim Group. Obayashi Corporation was founded in 1892 and has developed iconic sites such as the Tokyo Central Station in 1914, the Main Tower of Osaka Castle and the Tokyo Bay AquaLine expressway. Its recent projects include Jewel Changi Airport and OphirDUO Singapore. Featured concept image courtesy of Gallant Venture.)