North Korea defector grows mushroom business in South

Aug. 1 (UPI) — While some North Korean defectors who resettle in the South struggle economically, others are being recognized for taking initiative.

South Korean newspaper Segye Ilbo reported Tuesday defector Kim Yu-song, the chief executive and founder of King Oyster Mushroom, has managed to build a large-scale mushroom cultivation system in the South after 10 years of research and development.

Kim is the first North Korean to resettle in the South who has launched a major enterprise involving mushroom cultivation, according to the report.

Korean King Oyster mushrooms are a species of oyster mushroom that typically grow to four inches in length, but are notable for their weightiness and good shelf life.

A cultivation method was first introduced to Japan in 1993.

Kim’s interest in oyster mushrooms began in 2006, when he encountered a variant of the fungus in China.

After researching cultivation methods, Kim’s business entered mass production in Boeun, North Chungcheong Province.

The mushrooms can be cultivated all year round with the right equipment.

South Korea’s population of North Korean defectors continues to grow.

The group now includes more than 30,000 former North Korean nationals, many of who disavow the Kim Jong Un regime.

North Korean defectors, who return to their country of origin either voluntarily or involuntarily, are often used in regime propaganda that depicts the South in a negative light.

The most recent “re-defector,” Jeon Hye-sung, condemned life in the South in a North Korean propaganda video, while pointing common challenges some defectors face while adjusting to life in the South.

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