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Jeju Pork is Safe from Swine Fever; Export Restarted

September 29 was a very memorable day for the Pork industry in Korea because it was the day pork exports to Japan from Jeju restarted. In November 2004 Korean pork meat was banned from export to Japan because the swine fever virus had been found on some farms here. For 4 years and 10 months the ban has been in place. However, from last month, at last, Korean processed pork foods such as pork cutlets and ham have started to be exported again certified by the Japanese government.

The main exporting parts of pork to Japan are the lean meat of short ribs and leg meat, which are not the preferred parts of the pig in Korea. So to ensure the equitable distribution of preferential and non-preferential parts for domestic and overseas consumption control is needed.

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The main reason for the recommencement of pork export was that swine fever had completely disappeared from Jeju Island. From the time of the imposition of the ban by Japan in November 2004, the Jeju-do office and farms had removed all female pigs which were found to have the virus and after that applied strict preventative monitoring of all pigs. As a result of these measures, Korean pork was able to pass the Japanese government’s strict testing procedures.

Start from the Japanese Market and Make Headway to Southeast Asia

Now the Korean pork meat industry has a big chance on the back of the restart of exports to Japan. Unquestionably, it is also a good sign that the Japanese market accepts Korean pork because it is the most fastidious market among Asian countries and it means that it is going to be possible to export to China and Taiwan etc. To ensure good exporting capability, pork farms are going to set up clean, safe, convenience facilities. Hong Kong especially is a huge potential market as the average consumption of pork meat per person per year is over 60kg, which is three times much as that consumed by Koreans. Also, Hong Kong is an entrance gate to the cornucopia of the Chinese market. Currently Japanese pork meats are sold in Hong Kong at a high price, so Korean pork could compete successfully no doubt.

President Jin Kil-boo of the Research Group for Pork Export (RGPE) said: “Exporting affords the opportunity to upgrade the Korean pork meat industry. We should not stop at this point and keep going on working with the aim of export to Hong Kong and Southeast Asian countries which consumes 0.42m tons of meats annually. The task ahead then is to set up a new developed system.”

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A Cluster Business is Needed for Future Export

To achieve more exports in the short-to-medium term, we need to ensure that swine fever is completely and transparently eradicated from the whole of South Korea and not only from Jeju Island. To accomplish this goal the Korean government has set in motion the plan to eliminate swine fever from the ROK up to 2014 and soon thereafter to commence exports from 2015. Furthermore, the government is going to organize a committee for exports that will bring together various specialists to help exporters with administration processes, exporting counseling, and the developing of new technologies. Regarding Taiwan and Hong Kong, the government is already conducting negotiations about the future export of pork and positive results are expected soon.

Mr. Jin asserted that a cluster business and the establishing of a research institute for the pork industry are desperately needed: “Continuing the upward curve of export will be due to the efforts of the industry, specialist consultants, and the government all working together to achieve the setting up of a system for export.

Today’s consumer wants not only safety but also tasty food hygienically produced so a go ahead research institute is needed to improve all things. According to recent research, transportation, mooring, and butchery take up 50% of the cost of the pork’s quality. We should develop a new system that controls pork production from transportation to butchery scientifically.”

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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