Korea : Famed for its GumsuGangsan to Protect Apples and Kimchi

By Hyun-Sook Kim,
Representative in Seoul

Korea lies between 33 and 43 degrees in the northern latitudes and 124 to 132 degrees in the eastern longitude and is in the northeastern part of the Asian continent. Its total area is some 220,000 km2, about the same as the United Kingdom, Romania and New Zealand. The western and eastern areas are largely flat but the northern and southern areas are mountainous, and these account for about 70% of the total land area. The peninsula is famous for its GumsuGangsan, which translates as "mountains and rivers as beautiful as embroideries on satin using gold and colorful thread." There are, indeed, many scenic spots. Located in the cool temperate zone in the middle of the northern hemisphere, Korea has four clear-cut seasons: high temperatures, humidity and rainfall prevail in summer and cold temperature mark winter, which see very little precipitation. Because the peninsula stretches from north to south, there is a significant difference in temperature between the northern and southern areas of the peninsula.

In Korea, agriculture is mainly based on rice but in recent years the rice-growing areas has been decreasing. Next to rice production, vegetables such as hot chilies, Chinese cabbage, daikon (Japanese radish) and garlic—all of which are used to make kimchi—as well as Korean ginseng, an industrial crop, are also grown widely. While the farming population continues to decline (it now accounts for about 6.8% of the total population), the cultivated area per farm household is gradually expanding. In order to promote the use of agricultural pesticides, more than a dozen Korean manufacturing companies supply agricultural pesticides to agricultural cooperatives and the commercial market at a ratio of 50:50. The Korean agricultural pesticide market is worth about US$1.2 billion: those used for horticulture account for 70% and those for wet-paddy rice cultivation 30%.

Summit Agro Korea imports active ingredients for agricultural pesticides from Japan and other countries and supplies them to domestic manufacturers in Korea. It also supplies organic materials, foliar fertilizers, plant stimulants using hormone and house hold insecticides to domestic companies specializing in agricultural pesticides. The company also exports agricultural pesticides originally developed in Korea.
One agricultural pesticide that has been introduced by Summit Agro Korea to its partner company DongBang Agro is metconazole, which is a fungicide. The promotion of the product has been a huge success, producing many positive outcomes. In Japan, metconazole had only been used for very limited vegetables. A wide-scale experiment using apples, which form the largest fruit market in Korea, however, proved that the fungicide is effective in controlling apple blotch*. Metconazole is now sold under the brand name Salimkun as a fungicide to control apple blotch as well as stem rot** on garlic and onion, both of which are used as core ingredients for kimchi, a Korean staple. Summit Agro Korea will seek to develop further markets that have never been developed in Japan or other countries to meet various needs within the sector and contribute to agriculture. This is the mission of Summit Agro Korea.

*Blotch: Common name for a disease characterized by brown spots on leaves, shoots and stems. Pathogenic strains differ according to different kinds of plants, but all belong to a family of mould fungi.

**Stem rot: This mainly appears on stems and flowers. Affected stem areas become soft as if rotten and the upper part becomes withered. Pathogenic strains are those belonging to a family of mould fungi.

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