Atsumi-co, Japan: The total area of cut Chrysanthemums in greenhouse facilities and in the open in Japan has remained relatively stable, fluctuating between 5700ha in 2004 to 5000ha in 2014, including a wide range of flower colours and types such as disbudded Chrysanthemums, spray mums and kokigu, a type of Chrysanthemum which best compares to Santini.
Aichi prefecture has an estimated 250 ha dedicated to Chrysanthemum growing. As for supply volumes, these represent around 500 million stems a year of which roughly half are produced by Japanese growers. The remainder of the flowers are imported from Malaysia, Vietnam and China.
Aichi has earned a reputation for Chrysanthemum breeding although in the winter the majority of varieties originate from European breeders.
During the summer, however, the market is flooded with Japanese breeds featuring a stronger heat tolerance. A well-known Japanese Chrysanthemum breeder is Seikoen with top-selling varieties such as ‘Prince’, ‘Elsa’ and ‘Resai’. Among the high profile Chrysanthemums from Europe rank ‘Feeling Green’, ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘Anastasia’, ‘Alts’, ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Country’.
Japan hosts no fewer than 80 JA chrysanthemum cooperatives spread across the country. The number of members of these cooperatives tend to vary from 5 to 80 growers per cooperative.
As all JA growers have equal rights and are offered the same market opportunities, variety trialling is carried out by each grower member. This means that the final introduction of a new variety onto the Japanese market can be very time-consuming.
Once a new variety has successfully passed all (year-round) tests, the grower is licensed to produce a specific number of this novelty flower. Subsequently, sales of new varieties are consolidated with flowers being transported to the closest JA distribution hub from where they departed to the many flower auctions across the country.
Aichi has one major distribution hub for chrysanthemums which is located in Atsumi-co (co= village) on the Atsumi peninsula. Following the merger with another village, Atsumi-co has changed its name into Tahara-shi (Tahara-city).
Author: Ron van der Ploeg (with the kind help of Focco Prins).