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Danish Grower Trades Kenya For Thailand

Kenya, Denmark, Thailand, agriculture, Germany, growing, plants,

Danish Grower Trades Kenya For Khao Yai

1. Grower - someone concerned with the science or art or business of cultivating the soil - agriculturalist, agriculturist, cultivator, raiser

Lars Kirkebi has been a grower all his life, a vocation that runs in his family and one that he is proud and satisfied to carry on, albeit a bit further from his native Denmark than he might have expected when he started off as an apprentice nearly fifty years ago.

He and his wife Else are now happily settled in their new home in Thailand, 160 kilometers from Bangkok and Lars has enough on his plate running the 1.5 hectare farm and keeping the supply of cuttings and young plants on target to meet the weekly export targets of the thriving business.

All of their current production is exported directly to Denmark.

“We do the preparatory work here preparing the cuttings and plants for export to the firm’s headquarters in Denmark. There the plants and cuttings are brought on to the next stage of their development with approximately 12 more weeks of re-growing in-country. Then they are finally ready to be exported to more than a dozen countries in Europe from Denmark,” Lars tell us with a ready smile.

He says he loves his work and knows little else by way of making a living. He explained how his first opportunity to work outside of Denmark came rather unexpectedly. His quiet life as a grower in Denmark took a dramatic twist one day when he had a telephone call from Kenya in Africa telling him that his German friend had been shot and injured, and now urgently needed help to run his nursery while recuperating.

Naturally, Lars was taken aback at this call for help at first, and reluctantly agreed to relocate to help his friend. He and his wife ended up spending two years helping run the company near Nairobi in Kenya.

“Africa was beautiful and I loved the challenge of handling exotic African plants in their native surroundings. And the experience I gained was probably priceless too. Not to mention we had the chance to take a closer look at one of Africa’s most beautiful countries.”

Next he had a call from a Dane ‘looking for a thirty-three-year old horticulturist with 45 years of experience’!

“And it appears I fitted the bill,” 62-year-old Lars chuckled.

“It meant of course relocating again, this time to Thailand and Khao Yai, but once we saw what was involved in terms of the plants and variety of product and how lovely an environment we would be moving to, it was not a difficult decision.

“Thailand is a lovely country with wonderful growing conditions, and the people are lovely too. And I am still doing exactly what I want to do while applying a lifetime of knowledge and I hope - passing on my skills in the process.

“We have been here since the first of September 2007 and plan to stay here for three more years. I am of course looking forward to the time when I can take a break and maybe a closer look at more of Thailand and the wonderful variety of plants and flowers here.”

Some things never change.
Published: 2008-12-26
Author: Alexander Pithie

About the author or the publisher
Based in Asia, but European born, I am a freelance writer and editor who can generate intelligent features on any topic under the sun. Formerly with AFP and the Financial Times of London, I have been widely published and these days edit a number of web sites and blogs.

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