(Title) High-Quality Korean Sweet Persimmons Captivate Global Consumers
Gimhae Dangam Nonghyup, which is a sweet persimmon cooperative in Gyeongsangnam-do, has been exporting high-quality sweet persimmons to about ten countries since its first export to Malaysia in 1993. There are some 80 member farms cultivating sweet persimmons to be exported, and they are armed with professional techniques for cultivating persimmons and produce high-quality sweet persimmons that are recognized in the world market. The agricultural cooperative has its own differentiated technique for cultivating high-quality sweet persimmons and is thus competitive in the global market. It is now receiving attention for its know-how behind the success in exporting sweet persimmons.
Occupying 25% of Total Exported Korean Sweet Persimmons
Gimhae Dangam Nonghyup exports sweet persimmons equivalent to 2.5 to 3 billion won on average each year to nine countries including Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Since the first export of 0.5 billion won’s worth of sweet persimmons to Malaysia in 1993, it has continued increasing the export volume, and now takes approximately 25% of the total export of Korean sweet persimmons. It has been investing greatly in improving the quality of sweet persimmons to be exported, and was selected as a best sweet persimmon production and export complex by the Korean government in 2003.
The 80 member farms that produce sweet persimmons to be exported abroad have secured about 100 million won as a reserve fund for shipment and a self-help fund, and use it for the promotion of their sweet persimmons and for educational work. To promote the overall quality of sweet persimmons they produce, the agricultural cooperative arranges and holds various annual meetings, and training and educational events including one regular general meeting and three educational sessions for the promotion of shipment in each year, and field trips to advanced agricultural countries, workshops, executive and management meetings, and others. Through these, it was able to establish a solid foundation for producing high-quality sweet persimmons.
Kim Keon-bok, head of Gimhae Dangam Nonghyup, said that it is making a great deal of efforts to analyze the size and color of sweet persimmons preferred by local consumers in each country importing its sweet persimmons in order to expand the export volume. For example, it is exporting sweet persimmons in small packages for consumers in Singapore based on a result of the analysis that the Singaporean consumers prefer the fruit in small packs.
Expanding Export up to 3 Billion Won This Year
Gimhae Dangam Nonghyup is planning to promote sweet persimmons as a main export produce because the fruit is one of distinguishing Korean produces and has international competitive power. The agricultural cooperative estimates that exporting only 2% of the total production of sweet persimmons creates the same effect of increasing the domestic price by more than 10%. The continued efforts to expand the export volume since the first export in 1993 have resulted in the increase of the export to the extent that the agricultural cooperative recently supplies one quarter of the total export of Korean sweet persimmons.
The sweet persimmons produced by Gimhae Dangam Nonghyup are rich in dietary fiber in addition to vitamins A and C, and good for health. A growing number of overseas consumers are now looking for the persimmons after they learned about the features of the persimmons that are conducive to health.
Through the expansion of the export, the agricultural cooperative helped ease the economic hardship experienced by the farms due to the prices falling by the poor consumption of sweet persimmons in the domestic market, and opened the door to the growth as a new processing business that can create added values. Recently, the sweet persimmons produced by the agricultural cooperative are recognized for their high quality in some South-East Asian countries, and are thus expected to be exported up to 3 billion worth of them this year.
Developing Marketing Strategies Customized to Each Country
A size of sweet persimmons preferred by local consumers differs from country to country, and thus Gimhae Dangam Nonghyup first analyzes preferred sizes and applies a different export strategy customized to each country importing the sweet persimmons. The agricultural cooperative sells sweet persimmons of a large size in the domestic market, and exports those of a small size to Malaysia which prefers the small ones to the large ones. In addition, it adjusts an export volume of sweet persimmons of a medium size that is preferred by other countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada, and supplies the export volume that is adjusted for each of these countries. Further, since professional expertise and experience in trading with the South-East Asian region differs by each trading company that deals with the sweet persimmons of the agricultural cooperative, the agricultural cooperative selects carefully a most suitable trading company for the export of its sweet persimmons to each of countries in the region to increase the efficiency in the export.
It is also implementing an export system that is upscaled by incorporating respective sweet persimmon brands of three Nonghyups(national agricultural cooperatives) exporting their sweet persimmons cultivated in the neighborhood into one export brand in order to increase further the competitiveness in the global export market.
The agricultural cooperative expects that they will expand the export volume which is currently equivalent to 1.9 billion won up to 3 billion won through its diversified export strategies. In the meantime, it continues analyzing the overseas markets to find anything that needs to be improved to solidify relationships with local importers and improve packaging and designs, and making efforts to improve what it finds.
Gimhae Dangam Nonghyup
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