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- December 2011(issue 195)
Sweet, Crispy, and Fresh, “Gyeongnam Persimmon”
The Debut of a New Export Brand,
“Korean Sweet Persimmon ,” an Integrated Brand for Persimmons from Gyeongsangnam-do
Thanks to abundant vitamin and mineral content, persimmons are often called a “nutritional supplement.” The fruit is good for preventing colds as well as for the skin and eyes. Persimmons are grown everywhere in Korea, but Gyeongsangnam-do is the main producer with output totaling 60 percent of all Korean persimmons. It was the first area to start cultivation of the fruit. Persimmons grown in the favorable climate and soil of the region can be stored for a longer time, have a higher sugar content, and are crispier than the fruits from other provinces.
Launching an Integrated Export Brand, Integrating the Quality
Until recently, some local persimmon exporters, despite the high quality of their products, had a hard time maintaining a good image overseas, especially in the main consumer markets - Southeast Asia and Canada. There were over ten export brands, and each company had its own sorting system. In the absence of a common standard, it was difficult to promote persimmons from Gyeongsannm-do, not to mention expand the export volumes. To make an integrated brand, bring into uniformity the quality of the products, and thus make the exporting system more efficient, Gyeongnam NH(National Agricultural Cooperatives Federation) last year decided to launch the “Unified Persimmon Export Program.” 20 persimmon exporters have joined the program since then. Not only did it allow for a more systematic exporting process, sorting, and quality control, but a new export brand, “Korean Sweet Persimmon,” was also created. Gyeongnam NH handles all export contracts, so that the participating companies can concentrate on cultivating.
Up-to-date Sorting System…Challenging to Reduce Defective Product to Zero
The program is already bringing results. The efforts of skilled workers, working on the farms day and night, led to enhanced persimmon quality and reduced sorting time. A fast response system to deal with urgent orders was also established. The integrated brand, “Korean Sweet Persimmon,” has received a positive response from the buyers. Exports this year are expected to reach 3,850 tons, up 30% from last year. Gyeongnam NH is especially proud of its state-of-the-art sorting facilities.
Persimmons go through five different stages, removing the ones that do not meet quality standards, and leaving only the fruits of the best quality. Cold storage facilities also keep persimmons fresh for a long time.
This further improved the competitiveness of the products in the international markets because it allowed the export season to extend through the end of December. (Without a cold storage system, persimmons can only be exported until mid-November.)
Kim Do-hyoung, a department head of Gyeongnam NH, said, “we want Gyeongnam persimmons to gain recognition in the world as a perfect persimmon brand, so we will try to expand the base by focusing our efforts on packing and promotion. Our export goal for next year is 10,000 tons.”
Entertaining your Palate,
Sweet and Chewy “Dried Persimmon”
October and November is the season not only for harvesting persimmons, but also for drying the fruit. Cool winds and a large range of daily temperatures provide ideal conditions for drying persimmons in a natural way. Astringent persimmons picked just before full ripening make the sweet and chewy dried persimmons that so many people love. In the old days, Koreans enjoyed eating dried persimmons as a winter snack. About 60 percent of all dried persimmons produced in Korea are made in Sangju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do, but there are also other regions famous for delicious dried persimmons - Andong, Gyeongsangnam-do (Hamyang, Sanchung, Jinju), Chungcheongbuk-do (Youngdong), and Chung-cheongnam-do (Nonsan). Until recently, these were mainly made for the domestic market, but a deluge of requests from foreign buyers - who learned about the fruit from Koreans residing abroad - brought about the beginning of exports from 2007. Currently, dried persimmons are exported to the US, Australia, and countries of Southeast Asia. The exporters are doing their best to promote the product to foreign consumers and expand the export volume.
Inquiries Gyeongnam Nonghyup Tel +82-55-268-1724 Fax +82-55-268-1647 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org