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Korean Fruits Are Popular with Southeast Asian People

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Morning Farm Is a Leading Exporter of Korean Fruits Including Sweet Persimmon
Over 20 Years of Experience in Exports…Winner of Korean Agri-Product Export Awards

 

Korea is carrying out various policies to export high quality and safe agri-products.
Leading exporters of each item - such as strawberries, bell peppers, mushrooms, and so on - are being nurtured and they actively explore overseas markets using a stable supply of high quality agri-products.
Selected as a leading exporter of sweet persimmons in 2009, Morning Farm Co., Ltd. is at the forefront of discovering foreign markets for fresh Korean fruits. The company recently received the second prize (and commendation of the prime minister) at the Korean Agri-Product Export Awards. met with Lee Il-bong, President of Morning Farm, to listen to some stories related to exporting Korean fruits.

When did you start exporting Korean fruits?
It’s been over 20 years. In the beginning, we had a lot of difficulties because, at that time, foreign buyers had little knowledge about Korean fruits. And very few Korean companies had experience in exporting fruits. But we were confident we would succeed. Morning Farm actively promoted the high sugar content and reasonable price of Korean fruits to overseas buyers. We invited buyers to production areas where they could taste the fruits. After much trial and error, we were finally able to start exporting Korean sweet persimmons and now, with two decades of experience, we are recognized as one of the best Korean fruit exporters.


What kinds of fruits do you export?
The main export item of Morning Farm is sweet persimmon. According to the season, we also export other types of fruit, such as strawberries, peaches, and Asian pears. We generally get the supply of sweet persimmons from South Gyeongsang Province - the area that accounts for over 60 percent of sweet persimmon production in Korea. Gyeongnam sweet persimmons receive a favorable evaluation from foreign buyers for their high sugar content, crispiness, and long storage ability. Asian pears come from North Gyeongsang Province, and strawberries and peaches from Gyeonggi Province.


In Southeast Asia, what is the response of consumers to Korean fruits?
People in Southeast Asia have a good feeling about Korea thanks to Hallyu (Korean culture wave). They are especially interested in the Korean foods that Hallyu stars enjoy eating. The largest export market for the Korean sweet persimmon is Malaysia. Sweet persimmons cannot grow there because of the climate conditions. Currently, the country is importing this fruit mainly from Korea and Israel. Local consumers say that the Korean sweet persimmon is crispier and fresher than those from Israel and the repurchase rate for Korean sweet persimmon there is quite high. The Korean strawberry is getting popular in Singapore and Hong Kong. The Korean peach is mainly exported to the Hong Kong market.

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Which Korean fruits, in your opinion, have the best potential for export?
I think Korea can significantly increase exports of peach, Kyoho grape, and melon. Currently, Korean peaches are only distributed in a few foreign markets - Hong Kong, Guam (the US), and Indonesia. But Malaysian and Taiwanese buyers are also interested in Korean peaches and steadily make inquiries about the fruit. If an exporting complex for peaches is established in Korea, exports of the fruit will soar. Honestly, the Korean Kyoho grape has a lighter color and isn’t as sweet as the Japanese grapes. But we are confident that if the species of Korean Kyoho grapes are improved, they can expand their export markets to Hong Kong, for example. Exports of Korean melons, which are cultivated throughout the year, can go up with good overseas marketing.


Morning Farm has recently received a 2012 Korean Agri-Product Export Award.
The harvest of fresh agri-products depends on the weather. Exporting fresh fruits, in particular, is price-sensitive. Agri-products exporters like us have to play the role of an arbitrator between fruit farms and foreign buyers, but the role is not easy. Creating an environment in which both the farms and foreign buyers can be satisfied is among our main exporting principles. In other words, we give farms an opportunity to generate their income and we provide a stable supply of high quality Korean fruits to foreign buyers. Following this principle has paved the road for receiving the honor of winning the award.


Could you tell us about the plans of Morning Farm for exporting Korean fruits?
There was a bad harvest for most Korean fruits last year because of the bad weather conditions. So it was hard to carry out larger export deals. We hope the harvest will be better this year. Our export goal for 2013 is USD$5 million. To increase the exports of our flagship item, sweet persimmon, we are putting a lot of effort into finding new foreign buyers. In addition, the overseas consumers’ response to Korean strawberries and peaches is getting better by the day. Morning Farm will concentrate on securing a stable supply of different kinds of Korean fruits so that consumers abroad can enjoy the taste of Korean strawberries, peaches, and other fruits.

Inquiries  Morning Farm Co., Ltd.    
Tel  +82-31-266-4592~3     
Fax  +82-31-266-4599     
Website   morningfarm@gmail.com                  

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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