Horticulture in korea

Horticulture in korea

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Horticulture in korea

Horticulture in Korea, or the horticulture industry in Korea, is a significant industry in Korea. The most widely recognized Korean horticultural brand, Seoraksan, produces more than 90% of Korea's flowers and nearly 50% of the country's greenhouse products. With an annual sales revenue of USD 6.8 billion, the horticultural industry is the seventh largest in the world. Due to the rapid growth of the international horticultural trade, the imports of horticultural products have exceeded the exports since 2010.

In the 1970s and 1980s, when Japan and China had become the major foreign investors in Korea's horticulture industry, Korea was the world's largest exporter of greenhouse crops. However, by the 1990s, Korea had become the world's largest importer of flowers and greenhouse crops. In the last ten years, Korea's horticultural imports have exceeded exports.


The horticulture industry in Korea has a total employment of 1,200,000 workers. Korean horticultural industries employ 2% of the total employment in the agriculture industry. Of these, 1,000,000 people work in greenhouse vegetables, and 100,000 in floral plants, and 200,000 in ornamental trees and plants.

Most Korean greenhouse vegetables are processed under fresh-market trade, rather than under retail.

There are six major greenhouse vegetable companies in Korea, including, Chonjang Greenhouse, Silla Greenhouse, Jangchon, Hwaeseong, Doosan, and Gahoe. The Korean flower companies are Hanwool, Doosan, Gahoe, Paltan, Dongwon, and Sunwoo.


Korea's horticultural industry began in 1894 with horticulture as a subsidiary of horticulture in the city of Busan. Korea's first commercial greenhouse was established in 1909 in the port city of Busan.


Early period (1909-1960)

In the early period, most of Korea's horticultural products came from Korea's southwest, where most of the country's major cities were located.

Second period (1961-1990)

In the 1960s, horticulture became increasingly industrialized in the northeast, especially, in the province of Chungbuk.

Third period (1990-present)

In the 1990s, horticultural imports began to exceed exports. As imports have grown, exports have declined.

Types of greenhouse vegetables and fruits

Horticultural products, particularly vegetables, have been increasing in volume and value. However, the total number of workers in horticultural industries is also increasing. The employment of the horticultural industry is concentrated in the southwestern coastal area, and, most prominently, in Jeju Island.


Korea's greenhouse horticulture, as a subsector of the agriculture sector, has a share of 3.1% in the GDP. As of 1995, greenhouse horticulture made up 10% of the national agriculture sector.

In 1995, the production of greenhouse vegetables and fruits totaled 13.9 million tons, valued at 856.6 billion Korean won (KRW). The value of the greenhouse horticulture exports in the same year was 2.4 billion KRW. The total output of greenhouse vegetables and fruits that year was the second highest among the agricultural subsectors.


A total of 2.3 million tons of horticultural products from overseas were imported in 1995. The countries with the highest import totals were the United States, China, Japan, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The value of imported horticultural products totaled 881.3 billion KRW in 1995. The United States, China, and Japan together made up the top three.


In 1995, exports of horticultural products totaled about 2.2 million tons, valued at 593.4 billion KRW. The exports represented 10.1% of total agricultural exports. Japan and the Netherlands were the leading exporters of horticultural products in the past 10 years.

Agricultural development and food security

The Government's strategy is to make food security and agriculture self-reliant, to achieve sustained economic growth and to achieve greater food security. Currently, 70% of the food for domestic consumption is imported and the share of imported food increased gradually.

The following policies have been implemented to achieve this goal:

1. Promoting rural development to increase the supply of food resources.

2. Increasing the supply of food in order to maintain quality and ensure safety.

3. To develop technology in food production.

4. To improve agricultural policy to increase the efficiency and productivity of agricultural land and water resources.

5. Improving the quality of agricultural products and increasing their competitive position.

6. Supporting small-scale agriculture to increase efficiency and productivity.

7. Enhancing cooperation with the private sector.

8. Enhancing the role of consumers in agriculture and food.

The Government promotes food security by:

1. Building a strong rural economy and making food self-sufficient in order to ensure a stable and secure supply of food.

2. Reducing the dependence on imported food.

3. Ensuring food safety and quality.

4. Stable agricultural prices through production, trade, and distribution.

5. Increasing agricultural production efficiency and productivity.

6. Providing stable and high quality agricultural products.

7. Improving market access.

8. Creating a favorable environment for agriculture to improve the efficiency and productivity of agricultural land and water resources.

9. Building international trade relations in order to maintain international security and ensure food security.

To promote food security, the Government’s work covers the following areas:

1. Improving agricultural productivity and the efficiency of agricultural land and water resources.

2. Promoting the development of agricultural research and industrialization.

3. Reducing the rate of natural disasters and increasing the resilience of the agricultural sector.

4. Strengthening animal disease control systems.

5. Strengthening the safety and quality of agricultural products.

6. Implementing measures to ensure food safety.

7. Encouraging consumption-based consumption of high-quality products and maintaining a healthy diet.

8. Maintaining the competitiveness of agricultural products.

9. Providing information on food security, and improving people’s awareness of food security.

10. Strengthening food safety and inspection agencies.

11. Building the foundation for sustainable agriculture development.

12. Improving the livelihood of farmers.

13. Improving the safety of farmers and agricultural products, and creating a safe and sound environment.

14. Providing the best environment for farming.

15. Strengthening education on agricultural products and improving the health of farmers.

16. Building infrastructure, improving transportation, and the quality of life.

17. Improving the environment.

18. Improving social life.

19. Promoting the development of tourism.

20. Developing an eco-friendly agriculture industry.

21. Creating a favorable environment for investors.

22. Building a healthy, safe, and prosperous society.

The Ministry has carried out various measures to promote food security.

1. In August 2018, the Government issued a white paper on “Building a food security-oriented society”, and made a national plan for food security to address major problems