Thorough Quality Control: Sorting and Checking for Residual Insecticide
Exported to Japan
for 15 Years
Among different kinds of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes are popular with consumers around the world because the sugar content is high and they are easy to eat. One tenth the size of regular tomatoes, the cherry tomato is very similar to regular tomatoes in terms of nutrition (vitamins and minerals). Here’s an interesting fact from the history of this fruit: the cherry tomato was first cultivated by mistake in the process of developing tomatoes of a large size. But it soon won the hearts of people with its mouthful size and now its popularity is superior to other kinds of tomatoes.
Bora Trading Company, located in Busan, Korea, has been exporting cherry tomatoes for 15 years. Last year, the company shipped 600 tons of the fruit to Japan. The exporter mainly gets the supply through direct contracts with ten cherry tomato farms in Gimhae (South Gyeongsang province) and 13 growers in Boeun (South Chungcheng province). These farms produce cherry tomatoes all year round. Bora Trading Company also purchases cherry tomatoes from other regions: Chuncheon (Gangwon province), Hoengseong (Gangwon province), and Goseong (South Gyeongsang province). Last year, a total of 450 tons of Korean cherry tomatoes from Gimhae (250 tons) and Boeun (200 tons) were exported to Japan.
According to Kwak Soon-jae, head of the export business team of Bora Trading Company, “There were about 1,600 tons of Korean cherry tomatoes distributed in the Japanese market last year, among which we supplied one third.”
First Priority: Thorough Control of Residual Insecticides on the Farms
Bora Trading Company thoroughly checks the fruit for residual insecticides to meet the requirements of its main export country, Japan, which is a country with a very strict hygiene quarantine. The exporter carries out the tests for residual insecticides before they check the quality of the cherry tomatoes. The company requires that the tomato growers log in agricultural chemical management registers the time and reason agricultural chemicals were used on the farm. The registers are frequently checked by the company’s representatives. Moreover, in cooperation with local agricultural cooperatives, the exporter prohibits the use of agricultural chemicals that are not registered with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.
Bora Trading Company puts agricultural chemical management first, but the company also makes efforts to ensure excellent quality control of the exported fruit. In the process of sorting, damaged fruit and tomatoes with low hardness never make it to overseas market. The packaging containers are made firm and strong to preserve quality during shipment and distribution. What’s more, the company leads the growers to produce medium-sized cherry tomatoes (13~18 g per cherry tomato) that are in the greatest demand among Japanese buyers.
Mr. Kwak explains, “Thanks to the stable supply of good quality cherry tomatoes, we have been able to increase the export volume to Japan from 300~400 tons in 2009 to over 600 tons each year since 2010. We have the trust of Japanese buyers and that’s why we’ve been able to distribute our cherry tomatoes in Japan for 15 years.”
Market Expansion Goals…Plans to Export Cherry Tomatoes to Hong Kong
Bora Trading Company plans to break into the Hong Kong market. But first the exporter needs to resolve the problem of securing a stable supply of cherry tomatoes that meet the preferences of Hong Kong consumers. Unlike the Japanese buyers who rarely set requirements for sugar content in cherry tomatoes, Hong Kong buyers place high importance on the sugar content. So ahead of advancing into the market, Bora Trading Company has to be sure they can obtain cherry tomatoes with high sugar content.
Mr. Kwak emphasizes, “If we get the supply of cherry tomatoes that meet the demands of Hong Kong buyers, we are willing to export, even if it’s just one box of the fruit. We will continue to prepare exports of cherry tomatoes one step at a time so that we receive favorable evaluations in any country we ship to.”
Europeans have a saying: “The doctor will be blue when the tomato is red.” In other words, those who eat a lot of tomatoes don’t get sick very often. The saying shows how much tomatoes benefit our health. They have more vitamin C (effective in preventing cancer) than any other fruit and the yellow part of tomatoes is rich in vitamin A (an antioxidant). Lycopene, the pigment responsible for the red color of tomatoes, is especially effective at reducing the risk of cancer.
Inquiries Bora Trading Company
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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