Production and Sorting Control Lead to Quality
Acknowledged the World Over
South Gyeongsang Province is famous for exporting the largest volume of agricultural products in Korea. The region was able to export an ample amount of produce equivalent to USD$1.26 billion. Despite last year’s worldwide economic recession, it has held the No. 1 spot as an exporter of fresh produce for 16 consecutive years.
Daegok Regional Agricultural Cooperative is located in the Daegok district of Jinju, a city in the South Gyeongsang province. The region achieves such good results because it produces a plenitude of high quality farm produce that is the envy of overseas markets. Bell pepper is a representative item of the region. The bell pepper produced on the region’s farms and exported to Japan receives a favorable evaluation.
Average Annual Yield of 3,000 tons, Export Volume of 600 tons
The Daegok cooperative has been providing the Japanese market with bell pepper for over 15 years, since 2000. If we include the years spent exporting cucumbers, it has been exactly 20 years since the first exports were made. Han Jin-gil, a manager of the export team at the Daegok cooperative, explained that the cooperative started exporting cucumbers in 1995. That is the officially recognized initial export of Korean fresh produce. He added that the quality of the agricultural products of the cooperative had already been recognized abroad 20 years ago. The Daegok cooperative obtains bell pepper from 18 export farms organized in the region. The total cultivation area for bell pepper in the region is approximately 21 ha. On average, each farm produces around 3,000 tons of bell pepper per year. Among this, 600 tons of bell pepper are exported abroad.
Bell pepper Produced at GAP Facilities, No Claims from Buyers
The bell pepper exported by the Daegok cooperative receives a favorable quality evaluation. This is thanks to thorough guidelines and instructions provided to the farms on the control of blight, pests, and chemicals. The Daegok cooperative focuses particularly on blight and pest control, promoting the use of a natural enemy for pest control. As a result, all the farms can produce bell pepper with reliable hygiene and food safety. Mr. Han emphasized that all the farms obtained Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification and can thus produce the highest-quality bell pepper ensured by more than 10 years of bell pepper cultivation experience.
Bell pepper produced by the farms is thoroughly sorted at the Daegok cooperative’s sorting facility. The Daegok cooperative applies a three-step sorting method. This includes sorting the bell pepper with the naked eye and mechanical sorting to remove subpar bell pepper (for example, those that are externally abnormal or small). The Daegok cooperative tries hard to always keep the temperature of the facility at 20℃, even during the sorting, so as not to lose the freshness of the vegetable. Mr. Han said that, to prolong the freshness of the vegetable, the sorted bell pepper is stored in a low-temperature storeroom at 20℃ or lower for about one day and then exported. This effort has paid off with no claims from buyers for 15 years. He said that the Japanese buyers in particular are highly satisfied with the quality of the bell pepper.
Effort to Expand Export Market with Accumulated Production Knowhow
With years of experience and knowhow under their belt, the Daegok cooperative is fully ready to provide bell pepper of a desirable quality―including the size and color requested by overseas buyers. The Daegok cooperative is now planning to pioneer new markets and expand the export markets beyond Japan. As a first step, the Daegok cooperative made a successful export to Australia last year. Mr. Han remarked that the cooperative will continue to make efforts to further promote bell pepper while cooperating with local governments to provide bell pepper to consumers in many more countries in addition to Japan.
Yang Seung-hui, Producer of Bell Pepper
“We will Continue to Make Efforts to Provide Safer and Tastier Bell Pepper.”
<Korea AgraFood> met Mr. Yang Seung-hui who cultivates bell pepper in the Daegok district of Jinju, a city in the South Gyeongsang Province. Mr. Yang started producing bell pepper in 2009. The size of his farm is about 1ha. He produces around 210 tons of bell pepper a year, among which approximately one-fourth is exported.
Mr. Yang said, “Above all, food safety is most important for an export item, so I thoroughly limit the use of agricultural chemicals. To increase the quality, I also receive technical instructions and growth-related management techniques from professional consultants.”
To cultivate the vegetables, his farm features beds installed more than 30 centimeters above the ground. Adopting the beds is more helpful for preventing land-borne diseases and viruses because of better air circulation compared to the conventional installation of the beds on the ground.
Enjoy Strawberry along with Bell Pepper
Daegok Regional Agricultural Cooperative has been exporting strawberries produced by strawberry farms in the region to many countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia since 2003. “Maehyang”is the name of the export variety of the strawberries. It features the good scent, high sweetness, and hard flesh favored by overseas markets. However, the strawberries were harvested last May and overseas consumers need to wait until this winter to taste the strawberries. Mr. Han said that the Daegok cooperative produces the strawberries in an environmentally-friendly way and the strawberries are thus excellent in taste and food safety. So it may be worth waiting a little more for the coming season of strawberries.
Inquiries Daegok Regional Agricultural Cooperative
Park Sung Eun email@example.com
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