“The export volume of Japanese agricultural products is still low, but Japanese farmers aspire to export their products to foreign markets as overseas customers have a positive perception of high quality Japanese agricultural products. Price, communication and logistical issues are still obstacles for increasing exports,” explains Mr Takanori Iitsuka from Nihon Agri Inc. “We are dedicated to build an export-focused supply chain. With the mission statement: ‘Contributing to making Japanese agriculture and farmers stronger through exports.’ We aim to solve these issues and satisfy the needs of both Japanese farmers and global consumers.”
“Our major export products are apples, grapes, peaches, and sweet potatoes. We purchase products from farmers who are willing to export and we communicate with overseas buyers in order to reflect their needs. We pack these products into the required packages, arrange logistics and sell them under our company brand ‘Essence’.
We have our own apple orchard and packaging facilities. With an integrated and efficient supply chain, we can guarantee high-quality products at an affordable price. Our brand ‘Essence’ is becoming widely popular in South East Asia and we are cooperating with other Asian countries and local supermarket chains to place our products on a special ‘Essence’ shelf in the fresh section. Lots of customers get to know us, and become loyal buyers of our brand. When they need fruits, they just go to the ‘Essence section’.”
Traditionally most Japanese companies export big apples, but those are mainly for gifts and the export volume is quite small. Mr Takanori Iitsuka sees the potential of medium-small sized Japanese apples in the overseas market, and his company is the first in Japan to export these apples. They exported roughly 200 containers last season, most of which were delivered to Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines and have so far received good feedback from the markets.
“Through our participation at Asia Fruit Logistica, we intend to introduce our brand ‘Essence’ to more people. At the same time, we are looking forward to meeting more Asian importers, especially from the Philippines. We also welcome producers who are interested in growing Japanese-bred patented varieties. Our booth number is 3V42. We will also give a presentation at the Asiafruit Business Forum from 15:00 on 4th September on "New models: delivering higher value worldwide".