Korean Fresh Produce Draws Attention
The 12th Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM) of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) met at Songdo Convensia in Incheon, Korea, from April 5 to 11.
This meeting was particularly important as it set the direction for IPPC for the next four years until 2020, which is designated as the International Year of Plant Health. The meeting received much attention because it was held not in Rome, Italy, where the IPPC headquarters are located, but in another member country for the first time in the organization’s history.
The meeting was attended by 208 representatives of plant quarantine authorities from 118 countries, 14 representatives from FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations and the IPPC Secretariat, and 15 workers from international organizations. As a result of in-depth discussions on international quarantine standards, five measures for reducing and controlling the risks of diseases and insect pests that may be caused by international movements of seeds, seedlings, and used vehicles and machines as well as ten measures for standardizing criteria for sterilization of fruit, lumber, and the like were introduced and adopted. Also discussed and decided at the meeting was the direction of future activities associated with designation of 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health.
The initiative is designed by the United Nations to spread awareness of the importance of plant protection. Furthermore, the attendees examined progress in the introduction of ePhyto, an electronic phytosanitary certification, and deliberated the subsequent steps.
To celebrate the fact that the meeting, which had been held only in Rome for the past 65 years, was hosted for the first time in an IPPC member country, the Korean government embellished it with a variety of additional events. The Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency of Korea demonstrated its interest and capacities in plant protection by operating a booth and giving a presentation about the history of plant quarantine in Korea and the advanced plant quarantine system and fumigation processing technologies the country boasts today.
In addition to the Korean Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation) also opened booths to promote Korean agriproducts and entertain the palates of the meeting attendees with tasting events for chamoe (Korean melons), apples, strawberries, seeds, and other Korean products that are receiving favorable responses in overseas markets.
The IPPC operates under FAO, an umbrella organization, and was established on April 3, 1952 with the goal of building close international cooperation on the prevention of the influx and spread of plant diseases and insect pests.
Additional Information /IPPC Meeting Sketch 1: At a Booth Promoting Korean Fresh Produce
A large number of booths were set up for the IPPC meeting to inform the attendees of the research findings of Korean plant quarantine, promote eco-friendly agriproduct certification systems and eco-friendly fumigation processing technology, demonstrate high-quality seeds produced in Korea, etc. Among them, the booth dedicated to Korean agriproduct exports attracted many visitors. It offered them a chance both to learn about and taste Korean fresh produce such as bell peppers, ginseng, citron tea, sweet persimmons, tomatoes, hallabong (a variety of citrus fruit produced on Jeju Island), and cymbidium. All of these products are actively exported and praised abroad for their excellent quality.
Mr. Kunnio Mikuriya, Secretary-General of WCO (World Customs Organization), and Ms. Kundhavi Kadiresan, an Assistant Secretary-General of FAO, visited the booth along with Mr. Kim Jae-soo, the Korean Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. They showed the greatest interest in chamoe and ginseng. Mikuriya and Kadiresan tasted chamoe with curiosity after receiving an explanation from Kim that it is a yellow melon produced only in Korea. Kadiresan enjoyed the melon, saying, "The color is beautiful, and the fruit is crispy and tasty."
Since both guests displayed interest in ginseng as well, Kim presented each of them a root of the highest-quality ginseng as a gift.
IPPC Meeting Sketch 2: Views of the Commission Participants on Korean Food and Agriproducts
-Diego Quiroga, Argentina
Due to the geographic distance, it is not easy to find Korean agriproducts in Argentina and other countries of South America, with the exception of Korean ramyeon (instant noodles). Shin Ramyun, a famous Korean brand, is loved by many consumers, regardless of age and gender, thanks to its perfect combination of chewy noodles and spicy soup.
I saw the Korean pear here for the first time. I tried it out of curiosity and enjoyed its sweetness and crispiness.
- Stavroula Ioannidon, Greece
There are many Korean restaurants in Greece. While in Seoul, I am having a lot of Korean dishes such as Korean-style fried chicken and bibimbap (rice mixed with assorted vegetables and beef) that I have tried in Greece. They seem to taste even more delicious here, at the country of their origin.
Among the foods I have tried in Korea for the first time, the most memorable one is chamoe. Recently, eating seeds for health is a trend in Europe, and the yellow melon is very unique because it can be eaten with seeds unlike many other fruit and is very delicious.
- Avetik Nersisyan, Hungary
Through this meeting, I discovered that various types of fruit are produced in Korea. They are crispy, sweet, and of high quality. Korean pear, in particular, tops all others. Pears are produced in Europe as well, but the Korean one is the best. It is big in size and crispy and very sweet. I have also tasted another fruit, called yonggwa (dragon fruit, or pitaya), which is very unique in color, shape, and taste.
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