Korean fresh produce exporter Gyeongnam Trading (GNT) hopes to increase strawberry sendings to markets in Asia and Europe by almost 70 per cent this coming season.
The group’s fruits export manager Jeff Jun told Fresh Plaza it intended to ship some 1,200 tonnes of strawberries this season, up from 711 tonnes in the previous season, which ran from mid November 2011 to early May 2012.
Despite a decrease in sendings to Singapore, sales into Korea's main market of Hong Kong increased with GNT shipping strawberries there by sea for the first time. “A sea shipment can save freight costs, which brings us a competitive edge. Only the importer and exporter who deal with a huge volume of strawberry can arrange a sea shipment,” he said.
“We are aiming to export 1,200 more tons of strawberry next season, by increasing direct business with supermarkets and more sea shipment to Hong Kong, which will be more competitive, and opening up new markets in European countries," he added.
Last season GNT sent 2.5 tonnes to Moscow and 0.6 tonnes to the Netherlands, Jun said.
While prices last season were up on average by around US$1 on the previous year, Jun said many growers struggled to produce fruit large enough for the export market, which in turn had affected profits. Weather during March and April also affected quality, he added.
Last season GNT sent 504 tonnes of strawberries to Hong Kong, 108 tonnes to Singapore, 41 tonnes to Thailand, 31 tonnes to Malaysia, and 27 tonnes to Indonesia, Taiwan, Guam, Japan, Moscow and the Netherlands.