‘The Paradox of the Bumper Harvest’…5 MBA Students to a Farm Village2015-04-03Hit:4559
Mr. Lee (48), who owns a persimmon farm in Cheongdo-gun, Gyeongbuk, says he still has nightmares recalling the persimmons at the end of last year. The nation-wide bumper harvest of persimmons caused the price to drop by half. Farmers could not even retrieve the production cost and had to save the left over persimmons in the storehouse.
Last January, some young people from Seoul ordered 120kg of dry persimmons from Mr. Lee. They told Mr. Lee to just wrap up 200g of dried persimmons separately, and that they will be responsible for selling them. The whole 120kgs of dried persimmons were sold via a crowd funding site.
The young people who saved the farmers from the ‘The Paradox of the Bumper Harvest’ were the students from the KAIST MBA course. Since finishing graduate school, they have been helping the farmers by buying bulk of the left over crops and reselling them as customized snacks for other young people. They named their brand ‘대풍년’ to help farms to enjoy the bumper harvests.
It was initially Ms. Park’s (full name) idea. Ms. Park, who makes bags out of discarded banners, said “I once bought potatoes in bulk from a potato farm, but I ended up throwing away half of them. I was concerned about helping the farmers with joy”.
It was Ms. Park’s colleagues who found a solution to her concern. They all had different jobs and specialties; fully utilizing each individual’s talents, they decided to focus on the crops that were in danger of being thrown away.
The first product was ‘Diet Onion Juice’. Last summer, they purchased 2 tons of onions and produced 12,000 packs of onion juice. The persimmon series was their second project.
They are encouraged by the happy farmers and all the people who support them. There have been volunteers to lessen the burden, and even enterprises have, in many ways, helped them. The members of the team focused on the project for three weeks, doing their full-time jobs at the same time. “Our project cannot help all the farms, but it’s enough for us if consumers acknowledge the farmers’ joys and sorrows, and if our project can help the farmers involved” said Mr. Kim.