South Korea has started a campaign to consume more of what it produces—not for the sake of mental and physical health but to help farmers indirectly hit by Japan’s devastating earthquake.
On Wednesday, some floriculturists set up a market at the government complex in Gwacheon, south of Seoul, to sell their mini roses at bargain prices: a nice bunch for just 5,000 won, or less than $5. South Korea ships 32% of its agricultural and fishery production to Japan. The earthquake and tsunami hurt sales two ways, by damaging Japan’s distribution system and slashing demand for non-necessities. Among the products hit hardest are flowers such as roses, lilies and chrysanthemums, as well as paprika; these are mostly highly value-added products.
As farmers look to shift their sales route to domestic consumers, concerns grow of oversupply and further price drops. Hence, the agriculture ministry’s battle on the demand front. It has designated Tuesday as flower-purchasing day and is running a campaign to encourage households and offices to display more flowers and plants.