The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MIFAFF) is working hard to reach the ‘2012 agriproducts exporting amount of USD$ 10b’ under its ‘exporting-drive policy.’ This goal has been projected given the augmenting of the export amount from USD$ 4.42b in 2008 to USD$ 4.889b in 2009. The increase and projected amount have been accomplished by exporting companies, government organizations, and associations working together. The goal for this year is USD$ 6.4b.
The government has established the Korean Food Foundation (KFF) for the globalization of Korean food and set a goal for exporting foodstuffs for 2010 at USD$ 3.5b as one of the its expanding exports’ policies. The overall globalizing strategy aims step by step to create economic added value, enhance Korea’s image, and export more agriproducts.
The Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation (aT) contribution is to have participated in food fairs abroad, promoted and advertised Korean agriproducts, and organized twelve exporting associations by items. Furthermore, the aT has contracted MOUs with companies abroad importing and distributing Korean agriproducts. Undoubtedly, then, the aT is an active agent in the drive towards the globalization of Korean food.
Agrafood : First of all, Mr. Executive Vice-President could you please tell us about your experience of FOODEX Japan 2010.
Mr. Yoon In-teak (Mr. Yoon) : My visit to this year’s FOODEX Japan was my first since I was inaugurated at Executive Vice-President of the aT last year.
Unlike the exclusive, closed style of booths arranged in previous years, the Korean pavilion this year comprised open booths arranged by items and categories. Because the pavilion was designed with the flow of visitor in mind, I was informed that more people visited than in previous years. As one of the world’s largest agriproduct exporting countries, Japan is really concerned about finding new products during a let-up in the economic recession. In this context Korean agriproducts have been gathering interest because they are healthy and have quality and competitive price. The potential power of Korean agriproducts was manifest in the fact that many buyers wanted to have business talks with Korean companies. Furthermore, Korea is very close to Japan and they share similar food cultures.
Agrafood : FOODEX Japan is one of the biggest food exhibitions in the world and so the newest food trends were on show there. Seventy-eight Korean companies participated in the exhibition to promote Korean agriproducts. What were the positive outcomes of the aT and companies participating in the exhibition?
Mr. Yoon : Three largest distribution companies in Japan - Seven Eleven, the Aeon Retail Co, Ltd, and CGC - and many venders and leading importing companies visited the Korean pavilion. Especially, ten buyers from Aeon Retail showed interest in ten different items. Furthermore, holding a Makgeolli (raw rice wine) seminar and kimchi seminar was also good opportunities to show UPS-Unique Selling Point-to buyers and increase identification with the expanding market.
There were also discussions among the CEOs of Korea’s representative food companies who organized groups and exhibited items together. Moreover, a reception for invited buyers was also a good opportunity to network and increase exchanges.
Agrafood : Would you tell us about the results of agriproduct export for last year and of achievements on this front?
Mr. Yoon : Because of the economic recession all around world the amounts of the agriproducts exports of China and the United States decreased. The total exporting amount of Korea also went down. However, the amount of agriproduct export of Korea 7% increased last year to USD$ 4.8b. In my estimation this happened because markets around the world recognized the excellence of Korean agriproducts and this positive reception at difficult economic times should be capitalized on.
Agrafood : As you said, the total exporting amount of Korean agriproducts has been raised and the government has announced that the goal for this year is USD$ 6.4b. So could you tell us what the visions and strategies of the aT are to reach this goal?
Mr. Yoon : First of all, we are going to develop specialized products and vitalize exporting through specializations by items. For that the aT and the industry are going to organize research groups by items that will work to develop products which will attract strong popularity. And the big companies are really interested in these groupings to set the goal of exporting 30% more than the last year.
This year we are going to try to broaden the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets. China is the world’s fastest growing country and there are lots of possibilities of enlarging the export amount there. So we set goals for the Chinese market and Southeast Asian market of USD$ 1b each of exporting agriproducts up to 2012. To accomplish this goal we have contracted MOUs with the big distribution companies and prepared the environment for exporting our products not only in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai but also in smaller cities like Wuhan. We are targeting well off people in China and so are expanding the distribution network for them.
Agrafood : In your new role as Executive Vice-President of the aT is there anything you want to say to farmers and exporters?
Mr. Yoon : It is important to think of the global market as a single huge market and therefore to know its layout and realize its importance. We should set mid and long-term plans rather than focus on short-term targets oriented only towards the domestic market. For their part, farmers and exporters should secure food safety, ensure quality, and develop high value products. Also, and finally here, forming specialized marketing boards and strategies for export is also very important.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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