Business / Economy

Guiyang's cut-flower export blooming

By Zhu Wenqian in Beijing and Zeng Jun in Guiyang (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-14 15:03

The cut-flower export business in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, is blooming thanks to its subtropical climate for chrysanthemum and orchid cultivation.

The temperature in Guiyang is usually between 15 and 25 C.

From May to October, Guiyang has an average temperature below 30 C, and the temperature difference between day and night is no more than 10 C, offering the best conditions for chrysanthemum cultivation, said Long Yunzhi, agro-technician at the management committee of Guiyang's national agricultural science and technology park.

Japan has a huge demand for chrysanthemums, more than 2 billion annually, but its limited cultivatable land means that its domestic flower industry is unable to fully satisfy this demand. As a result, the nation started importing high-quality chrysanthemums from Guiyang in 2008.

Wang Biao, general manager of Guiyang Homeway Floriculture Co Ltd, said: "Guizhou's particularly favorable climate means we can grow premium-quality chrysanthemums."

Last year, Homeway exported 13 million chrysanthemums to Japan, at an average wholesale price of 51.5 yen (43 cents) each.

Chrysanthemums retail at 120 to 150 yen in Japan, and the price can sometimes be as much as 200 yen, according to Homeway. Last year, the company suffered a slight decline in its profit with the appreciation of the yuan.

"The favorable weather conditions in Guiyang mean we don't need to go to the great expense of installing temperature-control systems. Growing chrysanthemums in greenhouses with air-conditioners is very costly," Wang said.

The growth cycle for chrysanthemums in Guizhou is 90 days. In the neighboring Yunnan province, the heart of China's flower business, chrysanthemums only need 72 days for full growth due to Yunnan's generous sunshine.

The shorter cultivation period helps Yunnan get higher yields, while in Guizhou chrysanthemum growth has followed the natural rules, with bigger stems and a more proportioned corolla.

In terms of the scale of its flower business, Guizhou cannot compare with Yunnan and other flower-producing areas such as Fujian province and the coastal city of Qingdao.

"We are currently expanding the production scale and focusing on branding. The market won't be always sluggish, and the company is bullish about the prospects for the chrysanthemum exporting business," Wang said.

Although more than 70 companies have launched flower businesses in agricultural parks in Guizhou, the flower industry in the region remains in its infancy.

Guizhou Lyuyuan Animals and Plants Science and Technology Development Co Ltd has cultivated orchids for many years. The company received orders for more than 100,000 orchids from South Korea and Vietnam last year at 50 yuan per pot.

"Guizhou has rich seed sources and a favorable climate for orchid growth. The humid climate in Guizhou suits the growth of shade plants such as orchids. The quality of orchids is guaranteed," said Deng Keyun, president of the company.

Deng said this is just the beginning. The company is discussing with Russian distributors the possibility of exporting the orchids to Russia, and it hopes to export 500,000 pots of orchids by 2017.

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