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Thread: Internationalization Of Koi Breeding

  1. #11
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    ***

    I've been to a few farms in China that were producing some very good quality koi. One was run by a very wealthy individual who owned factories that made consumer goods for the Japanese market. He has almost limitless funds for facilities and parent stock, as well as staff. There was another who was also well to do, also a factory owner. He is not doing so well now with respects to breeding. I visited a third breeder who had very little money, but a lot of energy and a can-do attitude. He is doing quite well in his small scale operation. The very rich fellow and the not so rich fellow are both doing well because they shared a common attribute: passion. The other breeder not doing well lacks this and just assumed that throwing money and people at his breeding efforts would solve everything.
    The really important point.... Passion for koi.

    Unlike the mechanized corporate agriculture I mentioned, koi breeding for quality requires passion. And, a gifted eye for koi. Those are factors that money and size alone cannot accomplish. There will always be a special place for the art of koi breeding.

  2. #12
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    What is passion and what isn't? I mean, what counts as passion and what doesn't?

  3. #13
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    What is passion and what isn't? I mean, what counts as passion and what doesn't?

    Where you are constantly improving the quality of what you produce, and are never satisfied with it...it could always be better in your mind. Also, you enjoy your work so much that it doesn't seem like work.
    Brian Sousa
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  4. #14
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Where you are constantly improving the quality of what you produce, and are never satisfied with it...it could always be better in your mind. Also, you enjoy your work so much that it doesn't seem like work.
    Nailed it, Brian!

  5. #15
    Oyagoi Eugeneg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    The really important point.... Passion for koi.

    Unlike the mechanized corporate agriculture I mentioned, koi breeding for quality requires passion. And, a gifted eye for koi. Those are factors that money and size alone cannot accomplish. There will always be a special place for the art of koi breeding.
    That is quite true but there is another big factor and that is the market. It would not be possible for Momatoro to produce all these high quality fish if they did not have a demand for them from the Asian market who where willing to pay the price. It would be only possible for the US breeders to reach that level if the market was there.
    Poland has the whole of Europe as a market so it pays for a passionate koi person to breed fish.
    Regards
    Eugene

  6. #16
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugeneg View Post
    That is quite true but there is another big factor and that is the market. It would not be possible for Momatoro to produce all these high quality fish if they did not have a demand for them from the Asian market who where willing to pay the price. It would be only possible for the US breeders to reach that level if the market was there.
    Poland has the whole of Europe as a market so it pays for a passionate koi person to breed fish.
    Regards
    Eugene
    Exactly. If there is no Koi dealer, importing Koi from Japanese breeders, near where you live it is because there is not enough demand.

  7. #17
    Administrator Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugeneg View Post
    That is quite true but there is another big factor and that is the market. It would not be possible for Momatoro to produce all these high quality fish if they did not have a demand for them from the Asian market who where willing to pay the price. It would be only possible for the US breeders to reach that level if the market was there.
    Poland has the whole of Europe as a market so it pays for a passionate koi person to breed fish.
    Regards
    Eugene

    Quite true Eugene. Demand creates supply. If you went to Momotaro 15 years ago, there was only a single foreign dealer that frequented them and he was from Taiwan. The overwhelming majority of the dealers you would see there were from inside Japan, and it was that way for a number of years. The Japanese dealers might have sold their koi on to Chinese customers, which I'm sure they did. Maeda-san's success outside of the koi world enabled him to invest the money in koi and make a high-quality product, which in turn attracted customers from Japan and eventually from abroad. Kind of like a Field of Dreams outlook in which "if you build it, they will come"...and come they did.

    The big "shift" to the big money Chinese customers seems to have really gotten under way some 10 years ago, and has continued to a point where a high number of the high-grade koi are going somewhere in Asia. The Chinese economy has been sputtering for a while and they've gone from a tight credit policy to having their credit rating cut by Moody's (for what that's worth) to negative. Because of the way the original nishikigoi boom came to be in the 60's and 70's in Japan, that "boom" passed over to China and S.E. Asia after the turn of the century while Japan's domestic economy remained in the doldrums. Koi at the top end have always relied on a boom in which hobbyists that benefited from the top end of the boom were able to pay prices that were well beyond the reach of the average hobbyist.

    While Tsutomu Takeda was still alive, he once told me that there was a popular saying among the breeders that translates to "look at the customer's shoes before giving a price". We can debate what that means, but suffice it to say that koi pricing over the years has been anything but objective, and it relied heavily on the "new rich" of the successive economic booms that were eager to spend money and show off their status. In the absence of that, I'm not sure how things will pan out in Japan. Hope it all works out well, but I think that a realignment or correction of sorts is long overdue. An import ban in any country that Japan sells high-class koi to would definitely cause some pain.

    I have no idea what the prices will be for the koi coming from Poland, but something tells me that quality aside that they will have to be very competitively priced to be able to make a mark. Quality for quality, the US-bred koi seem quite price competitive indeed and offer the advantage of being grown-out locally in the same water and conditions that they were bred in.

    In the past, a lot of Japanese in the koi business have asked why koi weren't more popular than they were in North America. We have plenty of land for building ponds, and have some of the wealthiest people on earth here, so it's a question that I couldn't come up with an easy answer for. I have some ideas for why that is, but no definitive answers.
    Last edited by Brian; 03-04-2016 at 03:31 PM.
    Brian Sousa
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  8. #18
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Raising koi is a luxury. No one goes into the hobby with the expectation that he isn't going to be burning money. And if he does, he is bound to be disappointed. You need to spend on a good pond and filter setup, and spend on running pumps and aerators. And food, which is no laughing matter.

    This being the case, the koi hobby flourishes on good times. And breeders rely on prosperity to keep them on solid grounds. That China, Taiwan, and countries in Southeast Asia are benefiting from growth with fiscal health at the same time that Japan has been mired in recession, has been beneficial to Japan and with that, its koi breeders.

    After Fukushima, Japan has even opened its doors further to foreign tourists, and trips to Japan have become much more affordable. It is a recognition that Japan cannot rely on priming its domestic economy, even as its population is large, and must expand its market further.

    It can't rely on economies that are highly indebted and weak. There are bright spots in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and Switzerland. But still, I am doubtful if koi sales can grow much in countries that are sparsely populated. This means Japan has to continue to sell to Asia. Hopefully, India will be ready to answer the call. Asia aside, Brazil and Chile would be good prospects.

    It also hit me, in a koi show I just attended, that there is a high attrition rate in raising koi. I would ask an owner about a koi entered last year, and I would get an answer that it didn't survive. And it shows that koi keeping skills of many keepers need much improvement. But it also provides a picture of a continuing demand for koi from existing ponds- to replace koi that have expired. I've come to believe many ponds stay sub-optimal, and many koi die or don't get to develop well, that often keepers, when they can afford it, simply address the problem by buying koi of better grade, and trading in their poorly developed koi. If this is a common practice, it also helps the Japanese breeders as they benefit by selling higher-priced koi of better quality.

    But to truly expand the market for koi, the koi industry has to assist in making it easy to set up a koi pond with optimal filter designs. The current crop of ponds have a tendency to leak, and many filters used are too difficult to maintain, that they discourage many prospective keepers from joining the hobby. I have friends asking about setting up ponds, but it's still a big leap for them considering how the build quality differs. In the end, they just didn't want to deal with the hassle.



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  9. #19
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yerrag View Post
    Raising koi is a luxury. No one goes into the hobby with the expectation that he isn't going to be burning money. And if he does, he is bound to be disappointed. You need to spend on a good pond and filter setup, and spend on running pumps and aerators. And food, which is no laughing matter.
    That is not actually true in Southern California. Many Koi hobbyist started as landscape pond owners who added some Koi to give their pond some life. Then, with some, the Koi become the focus. Although most members of Southern California Koi clubs own their own home, many do not spend lots of money on Koi and pond equipment.

  10. #20
    Oyagoi yerrag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    That is not actually true in Southern California. Many Koi hobbyist started as landscape pond owners who added some Koi to give their pond some life. Then, with some, the Koi become the focus. Although most members of Southern California Koi clubs own their own home, many do not spend lots of money on Koi and pond equipment.
    If the focus is on the water garden, yes, koi would simply be an accessory. But even so, koi would need care, and a minimal setup consisting of a pump and aerator would be needed, and food as well. It can still be regarded as a luxury, albeit at a smaller scale. To make a pond is still no laughing matter. An aquarium with goldfish would have been easier.

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