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Elegant and Beautiful, Korean Hydrangea

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Many people love to use hydrangeas at events like wedding ceremonies because of their elegant and beautiful appearance and various colors. Starting in 2009, the flower has been exported from Korea and since then exports have sharply increased. They now greatly contribute to Korea’s export business. In the Japanese market, they successfully compete with hydrangeas from the Netherlands and Colombia.

 

A Rising Star of the Export Market

 

The city famous for hydrangeas in Korea is Gangjin, Jeollanman-do. It boasts 40,000m2 of cultivating areas and produces 70 percent of all hydrangeas in the country. 14 farms produce 300,000 plants a year. This is the result of a four-year effort since the beginning of the project to create the hydrangea cultivation complex.

 

The main species are circle-shaped Emerald, Topaz, Renate, and several others of the most favored by the Japanese customers. The colors are diverse and include green, which is the most preferred in bouquets in Japan, purple, white, soft pink, and wine.

 

Thanks to a good selection of species and well-controlled temperatures, hydrangeas are harvested in Ganjin for the nine months between March and September. They do not create a big financial burden on farms’ heating bills because they grow well in low temperatures.

 

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100-150 Boxes Shipped Twice a Week

 

Hydrangeas produced in Ganjin are exported through Daedong Nonghyup (Agricultural Association) of Gyeongsangnam-do, in shipments of 100-150 boxes (10-12 plants per box), twice a week (on Tuesdays and Fridays). The diameter of each flower is about 18-20cm. When packing, the producers put water caps containing germicides on the cut stems of the flowers in order to keep the plants fresh for a long time.

 

Korean hydrangeas are selling at a price of up to 550 yen in the Tokyo Oda Market, Hukuoka Market, Kumamoto Market, FAJ (Flower Auction Japan), and an online auction market Aucnet (www.aucnet.co.jp). The average price of a Korean hydrangea in Japan is 240 yen.

 

Freshest…Equipped with Cold Chain System

 

The strength of the Korean hydrangea is that due to geographical proximity it can be transported to Japan by ship. This costs less than transporting from other countries, which have to ship the flower by plane to retain its freshness. If sent on Tuesday, the flowers arrive in Japan by 9am on Wednesday, and including the time of passing through the customs, four days is enough to distribute them to all areas in Japan.

 

The cold chain system also plays an important role in improving the quality of the product. Daedong Nonghyup keeps the temperatures of the flower sorting area at 6 and that of the ships at 4 so as to deliver them in good quality.

 

Mr. Lee Jae-shin who first tried cultivating hydrangeas in 2005 and since then has been working on developing new technologies and educating farmers said: "There is a saying, ‘plants grow when they hear the sounds of a farmer’s steps.’ We, farmers and I, will put all our effort into producing high quality hydrangeas, and that will raise competitiveness of hydrangea exports from Gangjin."

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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