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Director of Dept. of In-Service at Farmers' Association in Tianwei Township

Location: Flower Industry Cultural Museum at Farmers’ Association in Tianwei Township

Mr. Wu Cheng-Hsien explains the features of the flower industry in Tianwei.

*Text◎ We sort out data from the oral presentation of Mr. Wu and photos.◎On-Site Photo-Shooting & Field Visit*

 
 

(I) Strategic Town of Flower Production in Taiwan and its Distribution Center

Director Wu is so proud and said, ‘If you speak of “Tianwei” here in Taiwan, people will think of “flowers.” To most people, Tianwei Township is the strategic town and distribution center for flower production in current Taiwan.’

 

(II) Introduction to Flower Speciality Crops in Tianwei

 
 

 

List of Flower Crops

Flower

 Crops

General Term for Crops

Classification

Class Name

Local Specialty Flower Crops

Usage

Distribution Area

Cutting Flower Cultivation Patterns Open-Field Cultivation

Mums Flowers, Carnation

Crops for all occasions were mostly used for flower-watching.

Faraway zone from the special district of the gardening area
Greenhouse Cultivation Gerbera Daisy
Potted Flowers Watchable Part Watch Flowers

Roses, Oriental Lily & Orchid

Home watching flowers, Expo display, large outdoors landscaping (such as the Sea of Flowers in Xinshe) Special district closer to the gardening area is perfect for wholesaler to find goods and keep an eye on the inventory.
Watch Leaves Various categories, not specified
Nursery Bed

(Nursery Stock)
 
Tree Size Large Nursery Stock

Bald Cypress is the most popular species on sale.

Civic engineering landscaping or private enterprise, villa landscaping

Near to the special district garden or nearby towns
Small Nursery Stock

Buddhist Pine, Japanese Juniper, tree and orchid sprouts

Used for landscaping or outdoors/indoors potted plants

Other Vegetation Turfs Japanese carpet grass &tropical carpet grass

Used for civic engineering landscaping or private enterprise, or land and vegetation for villa landscaping

The adjacent area of special district garden is not any particular zone.

The main cultivation of the flower crops in Tianwei is mostly based on the flower chopped, potted flower, and nursery crops. (This oral history was recorded by our team.)

 

 

 

Key Point of the Oral History Recorded During an Interview of the Flower Chopped

1. To get more profit out of the business, the peasants must rent a large area of land to grow flowers. They need to divide the land into acres and calculate the time of harvest to grow flowers in sequence to ensure there’s plenty of land to harvest for the flower chopped anytime so don’t have to worry about where to get flowers for sale and may rely on the word-of-mouth marketing.

2. The peasants will plan when to grow their flowers on a regular basis so they can offer materials for flower chopped. Right now, the peasants only provide a single flower species, the mums, for delivery, which may lower the burden in favor of particular technologies when speaking of cultivation.

3. The price of flower chopped also varies across the seasons or festivals. Therefore, one must think over how much time it may take for harvesting before cultivation. In case of the market demand or getting as much profits as possible, once the hot sales is over (to rush in the market), market demand will decrease immediately, and the flower price starts to go down.
 

4. The chopped flower is the kind of crop for any occasions. It’s mainly used for flower-watching. There is always time pressure on each stage of cultivation. Once harvested, there is an expiration date for the flowers to boom. Once delayed, it will affect the time for future harvest, which may also affect its appearance for sales and the price.

5. What the Peasants Union most dreaded is the lack of labors. If the peasants can’t find enough labors to make it work out just right, it will affect the time for future harvest. It will also affect its appearance for sales and the price. The marketing group and the Peasants Union will share labors.

6. Peasants are busy with farm work. Each place of origin has its priority list to take care of on each stage. Keep in mind that the rental land must be close to each other and should not be scattered around. It’s better to be somewhere next to the residential area so it is easy to take care of the flowers nearby. Since there is a special channel for sales, the peasants do not need to find a place nearby the main road to attract the wholesalers to come and watch the goods in the fields. The area, which is far away from the special district of the gardening area in the Roadside Garden, is the main area to grow the flowers.

7. The main channel of the chopped flowers for sales is based on a co-marketing of the marketing group. The sales channel is based on the top 5 wholesale markets for flower crops in Taiwan, which offers a relatively stable pricing.
 

 
 
 

 

 

Key Point of the Oral History Recorded During an Interview of the Potted Flowers

1. Potted Flowers were mainly used for indoors and outdoors watching, which can be classified into two main categories, flower-watching and leaf-watching.

2. There is a seasonal limit for sales when it comes to the potted flowers for flower-watching use. It requires practice on cultivation based on the flower season. When the flowers in full blossom, its season is the time for sales. After the season, the market value is no longer valuable so the peasants need to admit the loss and put those leftover flowers in stock.

3. The potted flower for leaf-watching does not have any problem with the flower season. If the leaf-watching potted plants were placed in the field, it can have lasted longer.

4. The potted flower crops can be traded without looking at the bargaining price regardless any sizes or specifications. Thus, most of the land for rental or the base for potted flower production was located at both sides of the main road in the surrounding area of the gardening special district in the Roadside Garden so that the visitors or wholesalers can easily find their way to look for goods they want.


 

 
 

 

 
 
 

Key Point of the Oral History Recorded During an Interview of the Nursery  

1. The nursery can be classified into two main categories, the large nursery-grown plant and small nursery-grown plant, based on the required time of cultivation and the usage.

2. For the large nursery-grown plant, it belongs to extensive cultivation. It is mainly used for civic engineering landscaping, or private enterprise or home villa landscaping.

3. It may take more than 10 years to grow the large nursery-grown plant. It has lower frequency for its delivery. Its management and sales, or transplantation all requires larger equipment or facilities to act as a supplement. Its location is on both side of the main road for the benefit of vehicles to get in or get out of the town.

4. It may take at least 10 to 100 years to grow the most valuable trees such as the black pine, the Buddhist pine or other nursery-grown plant with 3 meters tall. The currently available one in Tianwei District is the one found in this nursery, which enjoys quite a large-area of field.

5. It may take a few months, a year or two just to work on the cultivation of small nursery-grown plant until its shipment for sales. The peasants use pottery or plant bags right now. The plant can not only be used for indoors or outdoors potted plants for people to enjoy, but can also be used for building up the landscaping. Its way of transplantation or sales is much simpler. For example, it can use a bag or small truck, plus manual handling to complete the work process.

6. For small nursery-grown plant, it takes less time for per shipment, which ends up with higher frequency of delivery. The farm work is more complicated than the regular chores. The ideal place of origin is the place nearby home so the peasants can take good care of the plants in fields; for large nursery-grown plant, it may require larger acres of land. The place of origin often locates in a far remote place where vehicles can easily reach its destination.

7. When the nursery-grown plant was removed and planted elsewhere, it may require a male labor and tools to move it around the area. For trees of more than 10 meters tall, it may require a large crane or freight vehicle to measure the plant before lifting it up. Therefore, it costs higher than the average plant. It may cost from more than ten thousands to a few millions NT dollars.
 

 
 
 
 

Key Point of the Oral History Recorded to Introduce the Turfs

1. For planting turfs, it may require a large acre of land. After harvested, the peasants must spread a thin layer of soil to maintain the thickness of the soil layer. If the peasants keep looking after the field and taking good care of it, they can continue to profit from its harvesting.
2. For the turfs during summer time, it only takes about 3 months to harvest. If it’s winter time, it may take at least 4 months.
3. It may require a large amount of fertilizer and pesticide when taking care of the turfs so that it can have better appearance for sales.
4. The grass peasant labor union will hire labors regularly to mow the lawn on the field. It is a very complicated multi-tasking work.

 

(III) Advantages for Developing Flower Industry in Tianwei

Natural Environment in Excellent Condition

Soil

Tianwei Township is part of the Changhua plain. It belongs to part of alluvial plain of the Jhuoshuei River. The whole area is flat, and its alkaline soil is grey, which is perfect for agro development. The soil known as the alluvial soil comes from the Jhuoshuei River. It shares the property, which may easily congeal. It creates a good environment for the nursery-grown plant to grow after removed and replanted in another place for better chance of survival.

Water Resources

Although the weather or climate is distinct from one another in wet or dry season in Tianwei, there are plenty of ample underground water layer inside the township because it is located in the scope of the basin of the Jhuoshuei River. It can compromise with the limitation of uneven volume of rain.

Temperature

Although the weather is so hot in summer, the flower peasants in Tianwei know how to pick the right crops to grow although there are plenty of flower crops to choose from. They also take advantage of the technology and technique to create a perfect place for the flower crops to grow. In winter, the weather is so warm that it creates a perfect place for all kinds of flower crops to grow.

Best Geographic Location for Traffic

Tianwei is located in the middle stop of the northbound and southbound traffic in Taiwan. Plenty of the main traffic expressways like the national highway or the provincial highway all have to access through this district. Its accessibility increased greatly, which allows the place to become a distribution stop for high-speed delivery of the flower crops and nursery-grown plants.

Planned Government Policy

Several government policies such as the “Special District Garden in Roadside Garden”, “Special District Garden Planning in Tianwei Township, Changhua County”, the “Image Bazar Project for Tianwei Roadside Garden” as well as the “Leisure Park Area in Tianwei Township” were all implemented. It allows Tianwei to become not only a strategic town for the flower crops production in Taiwan, but also the largest distribution stop for the flower crops in Taiwan. Right now, the government also focuses on the development of tourism and leisure.

 

Sufficient Market Demand [Note 2]

Traditional Folklore and Demand for Special Occasion

1. Each Chinese New Year, the local people decorate their houses with some Calamondin potted plants for the sake of good fortune in the coming year based on the lunar calendar. They will also put a few bouquet of chopped flowers to add some festive aroma to the houses on the New Year’

2. The export trade to the Japanese market requires lots of demand for the mums flower. On top of that, the local people also need to buy the mums flower on some occasions due to local customs.

3. On the Mother’s Day, the demand of carnation occupies the largest portion of market pie.

4. On the Valentine’s Day, the rose pricing goes up as it always has been.

5. Each June, there is a large demand of all kinds of chopped flowers because of the annual graduation season’s tradition to send bouquets of flowers.


Demand in Domestic Market

After Taiwan Restoration, plenty of residents who lived in the cities without a garden or space can grow their nursery-grown plants directly once they found a place to settle down. The florists began to sell flowers and plants they planted outdoors in flower pots. For example, people started to sell all kinds of flowers with a fragrance such as the White Orchid, the Banana Shrub, Sweet Osmanthus, Jasmine, and pomegranate blossom. So, this is the beginning of the potted flower industry in Taiwan.

The Nursery-Grown Plant Business started to grow since 1961 when economy started to boom in Taiwan. Many private enterprises or private villas began to put more emphasis on the greenery and embellishment for how they may look from the outside.

During the 1970s, when it took more flower crops and nursery-grown plants to build the civic engineering landscaping, such a demand increased drastically because the local business had benefited from the large consumption of construction for domestic civic engineering. The nursery-grown plant business started to boom and prosper.

During the 1980s to1990s, the chances were pretty good because of the climate of the construction business in early stage. The volume of production for nursery-grown plants had reached its climax.

The development of gardening flower crops was highly affected by the domestic market. When there is a great demand in the market, the flower crops pricing goes up. Its profit is much higher than the traditional crops. Plus, it’s easily to get by if one can obtain the cultivation technology from the local flower peasants. It has attracted more business to gather, which results in great popularity among the flower crops production in Tianwei.


Demand in Export Market

In 1966, the local flower peasants started to grow roses in Tianwei once they succeeded in their attempt of the trial sales in Hong Kong, which generated the first trend of growing flowers.

In 1972, Japanese merchants started to invest in Taiwan by purchasing the mums flowers and the Gladiolus.

After seizing this opportunity of chopped flowers export sales, it allows more peasants who located in Tianwei District to quit growing paddy rice and started to grow flowers. More people started to join in the professional production line for the flower business. [Note 2]

Industrial Crops with High Profit
 

Since there’s more profit in growing the flower crops than the traditional crops, people started to grow flower crops in larger acres of fields after inherited the technology from their relatives and friends. The base for production covers the entire Tianwei Township. Its scope of area has expanded to the nearby towns such as Beitou, Shetou, and Tianzhong area.  
How much profit can the local people get from growing flowers, trees, and turfs in Tianwei? [No. 4]
Tianwei Township Farmers' Association of Changhua County actively promoted the flower business, and gave instructions to the peasants to teach them how to grow cash crops like the flower crops, and how to expand their business to domestic and foreign countries. It has generated a good result indeed. There are more than 20 billion NT dollars because of the flower production each year in Changhua County. The Farmers' Association decided to make a difference and allow diversity in flower industry. It promoted the potted flowers and tried to make it part of the everyday life at home.
There are more than hundreds of households with a bank deposit over 10 million NT dollars for each at the Credit Dept. of Farmers’ Association in Tianwei Township. The flower business is the economic lifeline at Tianwei Township. The Farmers’ Association tried to incorporate the potted flower in to everyday life to enable diversity in the flower business. It makes the flowers more than just the “flowers-in-pot” on holidays or festivals or rituals and sacrificial offering.

 

Mechanism for Guidance of Well-Organized Industrial Technology

There are 29 classes so far for the marketing group of production and collaboration for peasant grouping through instruction. It allows peasants to exchange their ideas regularly so as to achieve the goal of joint marketing and production.

To increase the quality, the versatile products, and visibility of the flower crops in the Town of Flowers, peasants with the same goal gathered together to found the co-business group under the instructions and supports of the governments — Provincial Hall of Agriculture and Forestry, Changhua County Government, Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station, Tianwei Township Office, and Farmers’ Association. Hopefully, the class can be the first business to guide the local flower business to prosper and boom due to its success. In this way, this place may keep its name as the floral city, and its products will be shipped to each large wholesale market around Taiwan for sales, and will be rendered to each export trading firm. [Note 5,6]

Each marketing group from the collaborative society of the flower production group in Tianwei Township will run an annual exhibition on the marketing group for its results regularly. It took them a whole year to show their hard-work to other business in the industry and the fellow countrymen. It creates a positive interaction among those who participated, and has increased competitiveness for the flower business in Tianwei. 
 

(A) How to Run an Organization

Basically, the organization of the marketing group is quite normal and it runs perfectly well for its routines and business. Besides holding a regular activity for business demonstration, the group members often make use of their leisure hours to exchange ideas of how to prevent the damages from insects, or share the pricing and materials or other pieces of information they may have. The cadres and the group members have built up high cohesion and centripetal force among each other.

The group members were very active in participating in computer-related IT courses, and other learning activities such as how to prevent the damages of insects for the flower crops. They also took advantage of the group gathering, and invited experts of this flower field in the country to join them and share experiences with the marketing group and show them how to do it through classroom practices. The marketing group will announce pricing information of domestic flower and potted plants, and release warning for damages from insects, or other flowers and potted plants export trading information.

 

(B) How to Run and Manage a Business
 

As for the production, material packaging, and production facilities (or equipment), the marketing group will be in charge of the purchasing job. They have come up with mutual practices to implement how to use the shipping point, fridge, and baler. They will send specialists to take charge of maintenance and management.

(C) How to Explore Networking for Marketing

To maintain its conformity, the marketing group will be the contact person to receive orders and sales, and create a new self-made marketing group to promote its co-brand throughout this country.

The product items organized by the group members complement each other. They can accept larger orders and be more competitive. They can sell their products to the whole country, and to other countries. Most of the foreign markets have been successfully reached including Mainland China, Korea, and Vietnam. They were even more active in recent years and planned to explore the Japanese market.

The model of the flower marketing group in Tianwei Township took advantages of the complementary property of the product items they made, combined it with the co-brand approach from their self-made marketing group to sell their products to other domestic markets and other countries as well through marketing. The group has set up a marketing group for agriculture for domestic peasants. By taking advantage of the organizational power to cut the cost of production and expand its product marketing channel, it can achieve the goal to increase the agricultural profits for individual farmers. It surely has set up a good role model for others to learn from them.

Complete Support Network of Other Business

Pesticides & Fertilizer

The Farmers’ Association sold the pesticide and fertilizers to flower peasants so they can buy, and provide technical help to assist them to get through all hardships.
 

Supplies Company

In Tianwei, there are plenty of material shops that help out the agro production such as the chopped flower packaging material shop, cement pot shop, bamboo stick shop, composite material shop, and etc. Since these shops are very close by their fields, the flower peasants will purchase from these shops to lower the cost of the production.
 

 

Tow Truck, Large Freight Cars, and Farm Equipment

All that required for the large nursery-grown plants may include the crane, large trucks or vans, and they can even get one back hole at local in Tianwei District. Since there are many landscaping vendors in Tianwei, almost everyone has its own farm vehicles, trucks, or cranes. Thus, they can support from each other most frequently.

Soil Medium

Soil or rice husk which may be required for the potted flowers and nursery crops production can be acquired by the nearby town, Hsichou Township and Tianzhong Township. (Hsichou Township is known for its ample alluvial soil collected from the bottom of the Jhuoshuei River.) You can buy soil from the former and get rice husk from the later. (Tianzhong Township is known as the hometown of rice.) Because these places are closer, its cost is much less than the average cost.
 

 

Hydroelectricity &Hardware

All the facilities which are required for flower production may include the greenhouse, the shelves, and lighting equipment. The flower peasants want to save their production cost so normally, they will set up the equipment on their own. Besides, the Flower Farmers’ Association will support them and give them instructions on technical knowledge.

Land Tenure

Most of the rental lands were introduced by friends or relatives, or the peers. Through a well-known acquaintance or someone knows the rental business well, the peasants can avoid any unnecessary dispute to happen. The plant for large nursery stock has gradually shifted its location to other southern towns in Changhua such as Yongjing, Tianzhong, Xizhou, and Erhlin. However, people among the peers keep a mutual understanding among each other to support and exchange shipment from each other.
 

   
   

(IV) Conclusion

We dared not stop writing during the interview because we were afraid we couldn’t make it right to take notes. The Chief asked Director Wu, Zheng-Xian to show us the way around in the Farmers’ Association, and introduced its functions and the business development of the flower crops to us. We hanged out from the first floor to the fifth floor and found out one thing. People can make their deposit here, and there are plenty of other services in the conference hall, the convenience store, the home economics studio classroom, the cultural property museum, the farmers’ insurance department, and etc. All these are the facilities available for all farmers to use them. The counter lady in the convenience was so glad to see students like us to visit the Farmers’ Association that she bought us free drinks by sorting out the fridge.

 

 

~Special thanks to Director Wu who showed us the way to know specialities in Tianwei~

--------------------------------------Source of Reference--------------------------------------

Note:

1.Oral History made by Director at Promotion Dept. of the Tianwei Township Farmers' Association of Changhua County, Mr. Wu, Zheng-Xian

2.Feng, Rui-Jing: Spatial Property of the Farm Business for Gardening and Flower Crops in Tianwei Township (July, 2009)

3.Photos taken on site during the interview and field survey
4.http://blog.xuite.net/cy9425/twblog/178009767-田尾鄉農會舉辦「花現奇蹟」農業產業文化活動

5.http://www.taiwanhot.net/portal.php?mod=view&aid=5022

6.http://history.n.yam.com/taiwanhot/society/201202/20120227727070.html

 

 

CYBERFAIR 2017