Okinawan pork exports to Hong Kong reach a new high
June 3, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
Okinawan pork exports to Hong Kong have increased by more than double.
According to a government survey on meat distributors in the prefecture, pork exports for the 2013 fiscal year amounted to 40.9 tons – a new record. This represents a 61.5 percent increase from the previous year. Out of the total exports, agu pork, a traditional breed of Ryukyuan pig, amounted to 4.2 tons, a 73.1 percent increase from the previous year.
Setting up cold storage warehouses in Hong Kong and promoting Okinawan pork helped the industry boost sales.
The government aims to sell 50 tons of pork products by fiscal 2016. A spokesperson from the OPG said, “We think that we can reach our goal within this year. Sales are increasing faster than expected.”
By using state subsidies from fiscal 2012, the government has been working on a project to promote Okinawan pork brands in and outside Japan.
As part of the project, the government set up cold storage warehouses in Hong Kong, which allowed meat distributors to export large amounts of pork at one time.
Okinawan pork exports are now eight times what they were in fiscal 2009, when the companies started to work on exporting the pork.
Exports of agu pork for fiscal 2013 are 70 times what they were in fiscal 2009.
Exports of Okinawan beef and chicken egg have also been increasing since 2010.
An increase in flights between Naha and Hong Kong has contributed to the boost in Okinawan food exports.
Dragon air increased flights from two to four a week in 2012 and Hong Kong Airlines increased flights from 7 to 14 a week in 2014.
Suguru Toguchi, who belongs to the Hong Kong branch of the Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corporation, said, “An increase in the number of regular customers from Hong Kong to Okinawa has contributed to increasing demand for Okinawan products in Hong Kong.”
In November 2013, seven groups, including Okinawan meat distributors, created an organization to promote Okinawan meat export. The organization is sending two of its staff to Hong Kong on exchange programs.
Companies represented by the the organization hire Hong Kong staff and work on promotion such as holding monthly tasting and sales events.
Kiyota Shingaki from the organization said, “Exports are increasing steadily. We need to continue promotion because consumers can be fickle in Hong Kong.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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