Strawberry is the fruit that speaks of the lush early summertime, but thankfully tasty strawberries can also be eaten in the winter owing to the use of modern cultivation facilities.
The strawberries produced in Korea are separated into summer and winter kinds. Winter strawberry is not only a domestic fruit; it is also a representative export fruit that is much appreciated in foreign countries. Winter strawberry is grown at Gyeongsangnam-do; and strawberry produced by the ‘Deogo Strawberry Farming Association for export (DSFA)’ located in Jinju-si in Gyeongsangnam-do has been appreciated for a long time in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia in southeast Asia.
The DSFA is the biggest group to cultivate strawberries in the whole country to the required export volume. Twenty three farmhouses are involved in a total growing area of about 230000㎡. One hundred and thirty three tons (USD$ 1.2m) of strawberry were exported in 2007, two hundred and fifty seven tons (USD$ 2.1m) in 2008, and six hundred and thirty three tons (USD$ 4.2m) last year.
High Quality, Fresh Maehyang, Very Popular in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia
A species of strawberry produced by the DSFA is Maehyang, and it is eminently suitable for export because of the lasting sweet taste and the excellent quality. Without boasting, the freshness and sweet taste of Maehyang rivals the strawberries produced in New Zealand, Egypt, China, and America.
Ha Jun-gyu, the President of the DSFA, said: “Our success was considerable because we changed species from Janghui to Maehyang, and this won the interest of foreign buyers. The new variety of strawberry is much firmer than Janghui and the taste and quality are excellent. After the change of variety the export volume has increased more than two times every year and the export market has expanded.”
Suitable ripeness is the most important thing for export strawberry as when strawberries ripen well, consumers appreciate them the most. Therefore, the DSFA harvests strawberries which are 85% ripe and immediately stores them in a refrigeration facility. Employing this procedure has paid dividends in that the DSFA has received favorable responses from consumers in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. For example, in Singapore Maehyang has been sold in 250g packages at big marts such as Giant, Cold Storage, NTUS, and also at many supermarkets. The fruit is highly popular in Hong Kong at big marts such as Park n Shop, and Wellcome, and export volume has increased to deluxe hotels, department stores, bakeries or famous airline such as Cathay Pacific.
Maehyang has been imprinted widely on overseas markets because the price is inexpensive relatively to the competition and on account of the delicious taste and high quality.
Responding to Consumer Demand and Securing Safety
Recently, Korean export enterprises have been heavily involved in a sales competition as the strawberry export market is brisk. In this circumstance, Maehyang was exported under the brand ‘1LPRIMO’ last year because of the realization that an individual strawberry brand is necessary for marketing and selling purposes. 1LPRIMO is meant to capture the superlative quality of the best strawberries. It acquired ISO 9001 certification as verification of its high quality brand as a perishable fruit in 2000. The quality control of strawberry production takes place under expert supervision every month. Moreover, 1LPRIMO has been improved by several methods such as the upgrading of facilities, PTG (Product Tracking and Genealogy), ERP (Examination of Residual Pesticide), GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification for securing safety. Selling strawberries in various sizes such as DX (Deluxe), L (Large), M (Medium), S (Small) in response to consumer demand is one of reasons why DSFA’s strawberry has been well received on overseas markets.
Jun Je-pyo (Jeff, Jun), the Trade 3 Team Manager of Gyeongnam Trading Inc., (the agency that is exporting the Maehyang produced in the DSFA), announced: “As the strawberry market has been growing apace, keen competition is expected. So we contracted the six strawberry export specialty complexes of Daepyeong and Daegok in Jinju, Hadong-gun, Sacheon-si, Hapcheon-gun except Deogo, and established GSTC (Gyeongsangnam-do Strawberry Trade Conference) to share updates about strawberry and to focus on strengthening our competitive status.”
Inquiries Ha Jun-gyu
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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