By Deputy Editor Sung Jung-wook
“Among the Central Asian countries, the Republic of Uzbekistan is successfully performing a pivotal role as a main player in the cultivation, production and distribution of agricultural products.” So said CEO Joung Young-Hun of the MS Group at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.
CEO Chung then added, “I would like to hear that the Uzbek agricultural economy has been revitalized thanks to the unreserved efforts made by a Korean company.” Questions and answers exchanged between CEO Chung and this writer follow:
Question: Please tell us about the aspirations of ‘growing together with MS Group’ and yourself who stress the importance of a slogan, “Let’s Grow Together!”.
Answer: We are rated as one of Korea's best facility agricultural material companies. We are a comprehensive greenhouse manufacturing company that has accumulated over 20 years of experience with its headquarters in Pocheon, Gyeonggi-do, the Republic of Korea. We have three subsidiary companies in addition to our headquarters company and also a subsidiary in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
We handle all items related to greenhouse operation, such as house facilities, cultivation facilities, and automation, and manage all processes from design to completion. We provide prompt after-sales service even after completion.
There are about 10 basics for facility agriculture manufacturing.
It has an edge in Greenhouse Model and various other systems, e.g.:
Automatic Control System, Water Purification System, Heating System, Air Conditioning System, Ventilation System, Screen System, Nutrient Solution/Irrigation System, Cultivation System, and CO2 System.
MS Group has a manual introducing the manufacturing and producing more than 80% of the facility's horticulture.
Founded in 2000, MS Group has gone through countless number of trials and errors in research and technology under the banner of becoming a ‘Leader in the Field of Facility Horticulture.”
It is said that Uzbekistan is sparing no money in significant investment to maintain its superiority as an agricultural country.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan is showing an active progressive tendency to contribute to the economic revival of his country.
Uzbekistan is emerging as an agricultural powerhouse utilizing her vast fertile land.
Uzbekistan is making substantial investments in the pan-government level in order to become a pioneering agricultural country in Central Asia.
The dry season is long and the rainy season is short, making it difficult to cultivate outdoor crops, and therefore facility farming is a national project.
As a water-scarce country, in Uzbekistan we at MS Group try and can grow crops with just one fifth of the water that is normally required.
Uzbekistan's strong sunlight is relatively an advantage in advanced farming methods. Also, cultivation technology, and accurate nutrient solution injection technology for hydroponics and a large number of relatively inexpensive labor force are also the biggest competitiveness.
Thanks to that, the horticultural facility operated by the MS group is about 1,600 hectares.
In addition, in the case of the basic materials for greenhouse construction, we have directly developed and produced essential automation equipment such as complex environmental controllers, nutrient solutions, irrigation equipment, and water purifiers.
Recently, we have taken steps to transform ourselves into a cutting-edge smart farm service company by strengthening our Internet of Things (IOT) and big data analysis technologies.
Based on such advanced technology, we will actively participate in Uzbekistan's agricultural modernization project and demonstrate our advanced technology by constructing greenhouse complexes in countries around the world including Japan, China and Russia among Asian countries.
Q: What are the MS Group affiliates and their major business areas?
A: As a representative company of the MS group, we manufacture control boxes, nutrient solutions, irrigation equipment, water purifiers, and frames (metal) necessary for facility gardening.
We also manage Technology Research Center (R&D Center) operation and Smart Farm core technology research.
MS Boiler is used in the production and distribution of professional boilers for facility gardening and commercial boilers used in apartments and hotels.
Operation of Tashkent branch in Uzbekistan: By operating the only local branch of a Korean company, maintaining price reasonable and securing advantages of after-sales service (one-stop management of all processes)
MS Metal: Production and manufacturing of frameworks that serve as the framework for facility gardening.
Green Chemical: It is an affiliate that makes plastic products necessary for hydroponics. Thorough quality inspection and production of products in line with the evolving trend of facility horticulture.
M Green: MS Green specializes in the processing of curtains and rock wool required for house heating.
The business area has a world-class greenhouse construction technology under the motto of a company that grows together with farmers.
MS Group’s representative greenhouse model (MS 9.6): Patent applied for MS’s unique foaming type with a rafter structure. It has superior strength and durability that is incomparable to conventional rafter structures, and up to 13 beds are planted per building. Convenience and improvement of crop growth conditions are good.
The advantage of easy temperature and humidity management is abundantly possible with the abundant air volume in the greenhouse.
Smart Greenhouse Service: Directly develops and produces major operating systems, including the MS 9.6 model, which is the greenhouse of MS Group. Providing smart greenhouse service that can automatically control nutrient solution, water purification, cooling/heating system, etc. through a complex environment controller (MS-CON)
Greenhouse material production and sales: MS Group directly produces materials necessary for greenhouse construction and most materials necessary for greenhouse operation and crop cultivation
Productivity improvement: More than 200% productivity improvement compared to the existing bed structure by dense cultivation through up-down hanging bed and effective in preventing pests and diseases due to high ventilation
Customized automatic control using data: The computer analyzes the information detected by the environmental sensor to comprehensively and automatically control various components, and to create and maintain the optimal growth environment in the facility
Cost-effectiveness: Most of the materials needed for greenhouse construction, greenhouse operation and crop cultivation are produced by MS Group directly. Cost effectiveness is increased by minimizing external purchases
MS service process: MS provides services covering all stages of design, material production/sale, greenhouse construction, and follow-up management
MS Protocol: Establishment of customized plans for each local situation such as topography and climate; direct production of carefully selected quality smart farm components; prompt delivery of smart farm components to the destination; MS communicates frequently after completion; Supports consulting through professional growers; and Build your own smart farm.
MS Greenhouse Model Frame Materials: In line with the slogan of 'Add convenience to durability, we are continuously developing new frame materials in consideration of durability and construction convenience, putting solidity as our top priority.
Ventilation system: Rack and pinion opening/closing, winding type opening/closing, towing type, etc.
Screen system: MS PO film, MS curtain, MS light shielding material
Nutrient solution system: It is a device that mixes nutrients essential for crop growth with water and automatically supplies them to crops according to optimal growing conditions. It precisely mixes and supplies EC and PH concentrations according to set values.
MISO series is a product developed by MS Group through many years of research and development, and is currently being exported to Japan, Australia and Russia, as well as in Korea, as well as Central Asia.
Automatic control system (complex environment controller): MS-CON complex environment controller comprehensively and automatically controls various components by analyzing the information detected by the sensor with a computer to optimally create and maintain the cultivation environment in the facility.
In addition, it is a true smart farm management system that can collect and manage data such as sensor data, farm work log, and crop growth log.
Water purification system: It is a system that removes salt contained in groundwater and purifies it suitable for agricultural irrigation. MS Group directly develops and produces it, and its excellence has already been proven in Central Asia.
It is purified water with high purity due to the reverse osmosis membrane method, multimedia filter and micro filter installed. Possesses a production capacity of 4 tons of purified water per hour
Heating system: MS Group has developed and supplied four types of gas boilers, coal boilers, industrial boilers, and electric boilers.
In addition, it has a total heating solution by supplying related materials necessary for heating, such as tube rails, radiators, and burners.
It maintains the greenhouse environment according to the optimal temperature in the facility analyzed by the complex environmental controller, and can provide the specifications of the customer desired level from 10kcal to 240kcal. The fuel efficiency is high, so the cost savings are sufficient.
Cooling system: The moisture supplied to the pulp in the pad creates an air flow through the exhaust fan, and at this time, the moisture in the pulp evaporates and cools the greenhouse using the heat of vaporization to create cool air. It features a temperature drop of up to 10 degrees and the creation of a humidifying effect.
CO2 system: MS Group's CO2 system utilizes CO2 generated during boiler combustion and supplies it to the greenhouse, thereby accelerating photosynthesis.
In addition, there are no harmful gases, so there is no harm to crops, and it is possible to freely control the concentration of CO2, and it is possible to supply it to several houses.
As such, the CO2 system is an essential system to create an environment suitable for crop growth, and MS Group can provide a low-cost, high-quality CO2 system by directly producing boilers and CO2 supplies.
There also is an electric lift car and other materials.
Q: What would you like to do in Korea and Uzbekistan?
A: As Korea moves from an industrial society to a high-quality industry, the number of qualified human resources is decreasing.
In the future, technology is also living in an important period moving from 5G to 6G.
Facility gardening technology also demands a high degree of precision day by day.
In response to the demand of this era, we are establishing a smart farm technology school in Uzbekistan, a country representing Korea and Central Asia for producing crops.
The future plan is to train students who can work hard on smart farms by collaborating with industry and schools, with employment as collateral.”
Korea plans to create high-quality horticulture facilities that employ fewer people and can achieve high efficiency. The aspiration to go to a quality game rather than a quantity game is exceptional.
Q: Do you have any suggestions/recommendations to the Uzbekistan government?
A: It is really difficult to do business in a foreign country without perseverance and strong guts.
A hard work is pun in by MS Group of the members who have been leading the facility gardening business in Uzbekistan for over 10 years in Uzbekistan, which overcomes difficulties when they come.
Even though many areas of business have improved and improved compared to 10 years ago, I think there are still more difficult areas.
First of all, what I would like to suggest to the Uzbek government is that consistency of policy is helpful.
When business owners get caught up in uncertainty, they shrink and lose direction.
One is confused by the system that changes frequently, which leads to deterioration of product quality.
Uzbekistan is an agricultural country.
Bank loans are also very complex and demanding, making it difficult to get a loan.
Business loans also need to be simplified.
Payback period is too long. Simply put, if payment collection exceeds a quarter, there is no competitiveness.
Then, the most important thing is that the environment in which to do business with uncertainty and risk in the collection of money is of course unstable, so it will become an environment in which aggressive investments cannot be made.”
It is said that many Korean entrepreneurs doing business in Uzbekistan desperately need a policy that needs to be tailored so that they do not get caught up in uncertainty.
I think Uzbekistan should now adopt the open order bidding method, which is the advanced country’s method.
I think that more Korean companies will enter the market by adopting a competitive, superior, and reliable method by introducing an order-taking and winning bid system as a policy.
Uzbekistan is a country that competes with agriculture.