December 03, 2014
First ginseng crop ready for sale
The first harvest of ginseng grown by a King Country land incorporation goes on sale at an Auckland gift shop next week.
Maraeroa C chief executive Glen Katu says it has taken eight years to get the Asian herb to the stage where the roots can be picked, dried and packaged into gift boxes.
There has also been extensive research into the market, which is mainly in China and Korea where ginseng is used in medicines, tea, as a food additive and in ointments.
Mr Katu says Chinese experts have reacted positively to what Maraeroa C can grow under its pine forests, and it's an opportunity other Maori forest owners can take up.
"In the central North Island there is over 400,000 hectares of pine, all in mountain cold conditions, with the right soil, no chemical residues so there are no harmful substances in the ginseng and when the experts find it is high in the ginsenoside active ingredient they are very complementary for us in being able to grow this very high value crop," he says.
Mr Katu says deforestation and over-harvesting means the wild plant is in short supply and 95 percent of the world's ginseng is now farmed intensively under artificial canopy.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH GLEN KATU CLICK ON THE LINK
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