Peaches, a Fruit Enjoyed Worldwide, Enter the ASEAN Market
Widely Recognized Domestic Brand of Peaches, Hessare
Peaches are some of the most common fruits around the world, along with apples and pears. They are grown in many countries―Korea, the US, Italy, France, China, South Africa, Argentina, Austria, and so on. This fruit is loved by people of all ages because of its soft flesh, sweet taste and fragrance, and, of course, juiciness. Korean people usually enjoy it fresh, but peaches can also be processed into jams or canned foods. Many regions in Korea cultivate peaches, with South Gyeongsang Province and Gyeonggi Province recognized as the main production areas. Korean peaches are exported to Southeast Asia, but the volume is not large. They are sold there under the Hessare brand―the name associated in Korea with the best quality. The quality of Hessare peaches is thoroughly controlled to live up to the brand’s reputation.
Export Farms Obtain GAP Certification to Produce Safe Peaches
The main producer of Korean peaches for export is the Eumseong Peach Export Research Association (EPA) located in Eumseong County, North Chungcheong Province. The 19 member farms affiliated with the association cultivate peaches solely for export overseas. The farms possess GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification and, in order to pass the pesticide residue tests, use only the fertilizers permitted by the EPA. The association provides farmers with natural pesticides to help the cultivated fruit meet a certain ratio of sugar content. Every month, the association visits the peach farms to check the progress of peach cultivation and share the latest information on the production of peaches that can satisfy local consumers in importing countries. On a monthly basis, the association also offers technical education that is required for improving cultivation techniques. If a farmer has troubles keeping up with the safety requirements for the fruit, the EPA provides additional guidance.
The sorting of peaches for export is also conducted in a strict manner. Only the peaches that have an 80 percent degree of maturity are delivered to the sorting facilities (Hessare Agricultural Products Processing Center). At the processing center, the fruits are sorted in the automated, nondestructive-saccharometer facilities. Nam Sang-bok, President of EPA, said, “We export peaches of the size requested by buyers. During the packing process, the staff at EPA lines the boxes top to bottom with special packaging pads that are designed to keep the fruit fresh for two days during transportation. Thanks to these efforts, our peaches maintain freshness all the way from being picked at a farm to reaching a local supermarket.”
Smaller Packages for Price-conscious Consumers
Most Korean peaches are exported to ASEAN markets―Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, and so on. Eumseong peaches are now actively exported to Indonesia. Previously, EPA focused its exports on Taiwan, but the market was taken over by Chinese producers and only a small volume (5 tons) of Korean peaches is sold there now, mostly at the supermarkets frequented by Korean immigrants.
This year, EPA is going to ship peaches to Singapore and Indonesia in 4.5kg boxes. To offer the fruit at a lower price, the peaches will be packed in groups of three in a bag, four bags per box. EPA will start exporting white peaches in mid-August and yellow peaches in September.
Mr. Nam explains, “Korean peaches carry a sticker price of USD$51-69 (per a 4.5kg box) in a foreign market. That is more expensive than local products because of the air transportation expenses. Peaches easily go bad, so long-term distribution is not easy. That’s why we ship peaches by air―it allows us to keep the quality of the products at its best. The resulting price is double that in Korea. To alleviate the burden on consumers, we decided to offer the fruit in smaller packages.”
Helps Prevent Adult Diseases, Brightens the Skin
Peaches are good for the health. They are known to prevent adult diseases caused by problems in the cardiovascular system and bad blood circulation. Peaches contain a lot of organic acid and vitamins that improve blood circulation, so they can also help prevent heart diseases and coronary arteriosclerosis. Moreover, the fruit is rich in potassium, which works to regulate the sodium balance in the body cells and keep one’s blood pressure down.
Peaches are also known to have a skin-brightening effect. They inhibit the activity of tyrosinase, which produces melanin, the cause of skin darkening. The beta carotene in peaches has been linked to eliminating active oxygen and preventing aging. Mr. Nam said, “Peaches abound with dietary fibers such as pectin and polyphenol and are therefore effective at excreting waste matter from the intestines. The fruit is considered a strong alkali product that neutralizes acidity in the body. These healthy benefits appeal to consumers around the world, so the fruit has a good potential for export.”
Inquiries Eumseong Peach Export Research Association