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Hallabong Mesmerizes Russian Consumers

Oranges and other citrus fruits are loved by people around the world. The fruits contain ample vitamins and are known to be effective in preventing cancer and obesity. A study conducted by Tohoku University demonstrated diverse efficacies of citrus fruits, including the reduction in likelihood of dementia by 75% if a person eats one citrus fruit every day. A popular Korean citrus, hallabong is drawing attention from overseas consumers for its sweet and sour taste and refreshing fragrance. Nonghyup Agribusiness Group Inc. on Jeju Island has recently started export of hallabong to Russia.

A Treasury of Vitamins Produced in a Clean Natural Environment
A major contribution to the beginning of hallabong export to Russia was made by Ivan Melnichenko, President of Russko Co., Ltd., who had lived on Jeju Island for seven years. He fell in love with hallabong when living in Korea and sought to import the fruit to Russia after his return to his home country two years ago.

Heo Gyu, Director of Citrus Management Organization in Jeju Regional Headquarters of Nonghyup Agribusiness Group Inc., said, “Hallabong can be an excellent vitamin supplement to the Russian people. We were able to start sales to the country because the Russian buyer’s commitment to import and our commitment to export were equally great.”

This time, the export volume was 4.3 tons. Departing from Busan on May 6, hallabong went via Vladivostok to Azbuka Vkusa, a supermarket chain in Moscow, arriving on June 5. It was a pilot project designed to bring publicity to hallabong in Russia. Heo said, “The consumer reaction was very positive. Russian consumers who tried hallabong at the promotional event noticed not only the unique shape of the fruit but also liked its taste and scent.” He added, “We received such a good reaction that Russian counterparts are ready to discuss next year’s sales volume.”

With Hallabong as Pioneer, High Expectations for Other Korean Farm Products in Russia
The positive reception of hallabong in Moscow indicates good potential for other Korean farm products in the Russian market. With a population of about 20 million people, Moscow is a large consumer market even by Russian standards. One additional boon for Korean exporters is that sales of farm products from 28 western countries are banned in Russia until December.

Heo said, “Russian buyers are showing interest in Korean strawberries and apples as well, so we hope that we can export not only hallabong but also other fruits.”

Mini-Interview with Ivan Melnichenko, President of Russko Co., Ltd.,

Ivan Melnichenko started import of hallabong to Russia for a simple reason. He fell in love with the fruit when he tried it while living on Jeju Island. His wife and son also like the fruit. Melnichenko said, “When we lived on Jeju Island, we brought hallabong with us every time we traveled to Russia. My Russian acquaintances tried it and liked the taste. It was very popular with them.“

After returning to Russia, Melnichenko tried to import the fruit and has just finished the first sales promotion for hallabong. He said, “Hallabong is my favorite among citrus fruits. Other Korean fruits such as strawberries and apples are also delicious.” He already suggested a contract for the next year’s hallabong harvest.

Melnichenko shared his plans, saying, “Korean farm products have a good image in Russia as excellent in quality and affordable in price. We are going to promote Korean farm products to the Russian middle class. Having started with hallabong, I will try importing other Korean fruits, such as apples and strawberries later this year.”

○ Additional Information / A Story of a Delicious Citrus Fruit from Jeju Island
Citruses are said to have grown on Jeju Island since the 3rd century BCE. The island boasts such a beautiful natural environment that it has been added to the UNESCO list of World’s Natural Heritage. The temperate oceanic climate of Jejudo offers optimal conditions for cultivating citrus fruits, such as plenty of sunshine, fertile volcanic ash soil, and clear wind.

 Grown in this favorable environment, Jeju citruses abound in anti-cancer components, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, and have plenty of Vitamin C, which is known to be effective for skin care and fatigue removal.

Hallabong literally means “the peak of Halla Mountain” and was named so for the bump on its top. Suitable for a diet because it contains few calories, hallabong can be eaten fresh or processed into tea, marmalade, and other types of food.

In addition to hallabong, Jeju Island offers a variety of other citrus fruits—satsuma mandarins, red-hyang (kanpei), cheonhyehyang (setoka), hwanggeumhyang, etc. The harvest period is from November to May of the following year.

Nonghyup Agribusiness Group Inc. Jeju Regional Headquarters
·Tel: +82 64-720-1342, +82 10-9074-1467 (Oh Jun-hyup, manager)
·Fax: +82 64-758-1726
·E-mail: junzone7@nonghyup.com

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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