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Kwon Yong-joo, President of the AMTI

Kwon Yong-joo
President of the Agricultural Marketing Training Institute


Make Specialists for the Agricultural Industry

Even though the world economic situation is bad, the actual export of Korean agriproducts in 2008 was about USD 450m which was 17% more than in 2007. The reason for the increase was because producers, exporters, and the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MIFAFF) made great efforts together to enlarge exporting amounts.

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But despite this rise in the export of agriproducts, more mangers are needed who know about and have hands-on experience of the agricultural industry. The particular kind of specialist needed has to be a multitasking technocrat who can take charge of developing new products and setting up marketing strategies. They also need to know about the quarantine regulations of importing countries and how to communicate with buyers. But, in fact, the present situation is not so good. Surprisingly, even KOTRA (the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) and KITA (the Korea International Trade Association) do not know much about the agricultural industry. To help solve this problem the Agricultural Marketing Training Institute (AMTI) of aT (the Agro-Trade & Exhibition Center, Seoul) has opened the First Agriproducts Exports Leaders’ Course at the Agriproducts’ Marketing College.

Kwon Yong-joo, President of AMTI said with great expectations: “Through this new course people can learn about business, marketing, and exporting strategies. And the course can be a good place to communicate about trade because most people on the course are working in this area.”

Agrafood: Could you say why the AMTI has started the Agri-products Exports Leaders’ Course?

Kwon : The government has set a plan to export USD 10b of agriproducts by 2012, but there are not enough specialists to accomplish this goal. Furthermore, most exporting companies of agriproducts think that exports are just a way to handle surplus products according to price. So the AMTI has started the course to cultivate export specialists and strategists and to help develop the agriproduct export industry by making it more professional.

Agrafood : What kind of people will be attending the class and what kind of subjects will they study?

Kwon : The target for the course is anyone who is working in the agriproducts trading industry. So, for example, exporters, producers, and anyone who wants to export their products can join the course. The CEOs of fifteen leading exports organization will participate and some people from trading companies have already put their name on the list for the first time the course will be offered. The course has five modules: mapping out a business strategy, trading, global export strategy, and two management modules. Instructors will be from the aT or who have worked for aT branches abroad for a long time who can lecture about the field on the basis of their experience.

Agrafood : What is the main subject of the course?

Kwon : We will focus on trade strategy and especially the way to export our agriproducts because we have to offer our students what they actually need. Against this background our main focus will be to consider what problems we face and how to solve them. We intend to invite importers and to give suitable consulting to exporting companies about packaging, design, and quality of the products. Moreover, we will also provide a training tour abroad that will include opportunities for our course participants to talk with overseas buyers. During the training session we also offer exporting strategy plans for individual companies to enter world and regional markets.

Agrafood : As you propose to offer the course every year starting from 2009 what kind of effects do you expect it to have?

Kwon : The purpose of the course is not solely educative; the aim is also to bring people together to share the information they have personally. They can reduce cost through buying ingredients together and also exporting. Furthermore, the problem of excessive competition and the dumping of exports can be aired and ways of dealing with these issues canvassed. There is no way an industry can survive in today’s worlds which does not have effective competitive power. The AMTI then aims to be on the cutting edge cultivating the best specialists the agricultural industry needs. The agricultural industry is closely connected with other industries, so to increase exports specialists are needed for each step: producing, processing, food servicing, and exporting. Thus we have food-chain courses classified into these fields as well.

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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