Fruitnet.com's partner publications FRESH PRODUCE JOURNAL, EUROFRUIT, ASIAFRUIT and AMERICAFRUIT have teamed up to publish a series of special interviews to coincide with the FIFA World Cup, featuring a member of the fresh produce industry from each of the 32 nations involved in the tournament.
Today, it's Olga Kouassi of the Abidjan-based Bureau Norme Audit and Toshi Teshima of International Produce Group Japan, ahead of their teams' Group C clash in the early hours of tomorrow morning (15 June):
What is your firm’s world-beating service or product?
Olga Kouassi: We are a certification body based in the capital city.
Toshi Teshima: International Produce Group is an exporter of fresh fruit and vegetables with key products such as table grapes, citrus and vegetables. Our head office is in Salinas, California, and our main market is Asian countries, such as China/Hong Kong,Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and so on.
What does the World Cup mean to people in your country?
OK: In Côte d’Ivoire, football is a way for people to reconcile and overcome divisions. The participation of the national team at the World Cup is a point of pride for the population and a special time for a lot of people to come together around a shared passion.
TT: An excitement. More and more people are getting enthusiastic on football, although it is baseball which is the most popular professional sport traditionally.
How do you think your national team will fare in Brazil?
OK: This competition is the perfect opportunity to compare the Côte d'Ivoire footballers with others from all over the world. We really hope that the team reaches the quarter finals, given the talent there is, including Didier Drogba and Yaya Touré.
TT: We have a team of discipline with more and more players doing quite well in major European leagues. Let us hope we can reach the top.