South Korean grower Won Kim

‘We’re getting a lot of support from the government’

Who do you sell your cacti to?

“Our main market is the Netherlands. Our largest buyers are two Dutch companies: Edelcactus and Ubink nurseries. We also have customers in the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Israel. We don’t have too much business in Asia, apart from in Japan and Taiwan. For the Asian market, the competition of China is strong. There are two Asian countries where cacti are grown – South Korea and China. Our quality is the best.”

Why is that?

“That’s because we’re getting a lot of support from the government. The government has a research centre that focuses on the breeding of cacti and other plants and flowers. They understand that this is a way to support commercial companies. We buy the parent plants of our new species from the government for very low prices. They’re almost for free. We use the parent plants for three years, after which we buy new ones.”

How’s it going?

“Business is going well. We’re sold out most of the year. Demand is higher than supply. We also sell some value-added cacti. Not to the Netherlands though, as the shipping costs would be too high. We export cacti with added value – nice packaging for example – to Australia.”

How do you see the future?

“The near future will be okay. We’ve been doing this for more than 30 years. Business is going well. The European economy is recovering. Our buyers are also doing well. Cacti and succulents are currently very popular with consumers.”

Haven’t you been affected by the crisis?

“No, the financial crisis didn’t really affect us. Our customers noticed it, though. But the demand for our cacti didn’t change. We didn’t reduce our prices, not for any customer worldwide. In fact, our asking price has been going up a little every year. That’s because labour costs in Korea are high. The cultivation is very labour intensive. We have workers from forty different countries, from Vietnam to the Philippines. Labour could become a challenge in the coming years.”

Won Kim

Company: Koduk Green House

Grows: Cacti

Place: Goyang-City, South Korea