Cactus, the spiny plant which grows mainly in tropical regions and deserts, is known as an ornamental plant. Now many people around the world believe that this ornamental usage hails from Korea, but actually cactuses vary in kind and their habitats range from coastal areas to alpine regions with an icecap atop.
Since cactuses were introduced into Korea in the late 1960s, Korean producers have researched grafting different varieties together for decades and finally they have succeeded in developing a new cactus cultivar called ‘Bimoran,’ a grafted color cactus that is now famous being exported to North America, the provenance of many kinds of cactus, and to the Netherlands the world mecca of floriculture.
Grafted cactus is made by grafting the Bimoran with various colors onto the upper part of a delta the pillar of a cactus. After grafting the two kinds of cactus grow into one complete independent cactus. Since the survival rate of the grafted cactus depends sensitively on temperature, humidity, light, and virus, attentive maintenance is needed. In this regard, Korea is fortunate in having the high technology to be able to cultivate the cactus. Based on diverse colors, high quality, and high tech Korean grafted cactus is now appreciated on the world market. As well as being an ornamental plant, grafted cactus has recently been considered as having the potential to be used as a functional plant, so that much research is underway to realize the potentials of the versatile plant.
The Amount Produced Equals the Amount Exported
Koduk Green House Inc., located in Goyang in Gyeonggi-do, is eagerly producing and exporting cactus to thirteen countries including North America, the original landscape of cactus, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, and East-South Asian countries. The grafted cactus Koduk Green House exports amounts to more than 40% of all annual export from Korea. Last year the company exported USD 2.5m worth of grafted cactus.
Kim Gun-Joong, Head of Koduk Green House Inc., said: “Almost all the cactus produced in Korea is exported. Every year we are flooded with orders for cactus, but due to the limited area under cultivation, we unfortunately cannot increase production.”
With the latter problem in mind, this year the company has started producing cactuses in flowerpots and packing them to obtain higher added-value from production. Exploiting this product diversification, the company is planning to make inroads into the Japanese market in earnest and it has already increased its export target to USD 3m, which is USD 0.5m up from the export amount last year.
The World-Best Grafting Handicraft with Thirty-Year Know-How
Behind the popularity of Korean grafted cactus on both overseas and domestic markets is the grafting know-how accumulated for over thirty years based on the deft-finger work of dedicated Koreans. Recently, a well known cactus producer from Denmark asked Koduk Green House to make a grafted cactus using ‘Gebal’ cactus (Schlumbergera) and bellflower (Campanula). After assiduous efforts, a new kind of grafted cactus was created that will be soon re-exported to Denmark. This achievement proves again the high status accorded to Korean grafting technology.
Although there is growing concerns about whether the export of Korean grafted cactus to North America is being affected or not by the ailing world economy, so far there is no evidence that export there is on the decline. Rather, it is expected to be more prosperous thanks to the high exchange rate.
Mr. Kim said with confidence: “Due to the outflow of our seed to China, producers there have started introducing cheap grafted cactus into the European market. Though this competition appear to be a little threatening to the Korean grafted cactus business, to our relief China is not catching up with Korean technology and to date the European market highly recognizes the high status of our grafted cactus. It’s a good example, is it not, that a European country entrusted us to create a new kind of cactus product.”
All in all, then, the Korean cactus industry is well set to overcome the obstacle of competition from China and can be expected to flourish well into the future.
Inquiries Kim Gun-Joong Tel +82-2-3661-6020 Fax +82-2-3661-6116 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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