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Nosong Nonghyup Co-selection and Shipping Organization leads premium strawberry export market with unique taste and size

High quality premium strawberry with over twice the size and over 2 brix higher sugar content than ordinary strawberry is being exported. Around 60 strawberry farms affiliated under the Nosong Nonghyup Co-selection and Shipping Organization in Nonsan, Chungcheongnam-do are exporting 'Kingsberry', a strawberry variety launched late last year to six Southeast Asian countries. Kingsberry' is emerging as a promising export product for its superior taste, sugar content, size, color and price competitiveness than Japanese strawberry.

'Kingsberry', a high quality strawberry variety developed in Korea
'Kingsberry' is a strawberry variety originated from Korea at the end of nine years of research at the Nonsan Strawberry Laboratory in Chungcheongnam-do. This variety is expected to lead the premium strawberry market with its 2 - 3 times bigger size and sugar content than existing Seolhyang and Maehyang varieties.

Hyung-gyu Park, the president of Nosong Nonghyup Co-selection and Shipping Organization said "Since the distribution of the Kingsberry variety to strawberry farms last year, many farms started growing it, but many of them suffered loss due to malformed fruits, diseases, pests and weak texture", and explained the success story from cultivation to export saying "But from trial-and-error, we successfully grew it by using chlorella, seaweed microorganisms and gernamium, and the first plantation in September 2018 led to the first harvest of Kingsberry in November." Currently, the company exports to six Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, and the export volumes are constantly increasing due to positive responses from import buyers.

Popularity as premium strawberry based on aT support
Kingsberry strawberry's greatest exporting competitive advantages are large size, high sugar content and superior taste. Despite expensive price at KRW 15,000 per fruit, importing countries are preferring Kingsberry and planning to increase imports. Compared to 20g weight per fruit of existing strawberry varieties, Kingsberry weighs around 60 - 90g per fruit and has firm flesh. Along with these characteristics, based on diverse customized export supports after the designation as the 'Miracle K-Food Project' by aT, Kingsberry is given wings to export as a promising exporting product.

In particular, Nosong Nonghyup Co-selection and Shipping Organization received supports from aT to strengthen market research and product competitiveness and demonstrative export product. Also, the company received intensive supports to overseas marketing including seeking buyers, market pioneering and solidifying exports.

Growth into top premium strawberry priced at KRW 10,000 per fruit
President Hyung-gyu Park said "Although Kingsberry has infinite exporting potentials to increase income levels of farms, it could not be exported due to lack of experience and insufficient size of business" and explained about effective export supports saying "But since aT aggressively discovered unknown products in the early step of commercialization and provided export supports, we have now grown into a leading exporting product."

Based on such supports, the company plans to continuously improve quality and strengthen overseas marketing with the aim to reach KRW 3,000 per fruit weighing over 60g and KRW 10,000 per fruit weighing over 90g. Also, since currently the production volume is way behind the demand from six Southeast Asian countries that import 'King's Berry', the company plans to expand business from 60 farms to 120 farms to meet demand. In particular, considering the fact that there is no strawberry exporting complex in Nonsan, which is a major producer of strawberry, the company is progressing to be designated as a professional strawberry exporting complex in Nonsan.

Through such export supports, the company plans to aggressively advance into the US market mainly in Korean supermarkets and expand to export market in Canada following the expansion demand for export volumes by Canadian import buyers.

Lee Hyun Woo  leehw@agrinet.co.kr

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