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Agribusiness-Grower Relationship in the Production of Quality Grapes and the Impact on the Rural Community

Song, G. C.
Acta horticulturae 2015 no.1090 pp. 55-60
auctions, commercialization, cultivars, drainage, education, experts, exports, farmers, farms, fruit quality, grapes, income, models, prices, rural communities, sales, soil, temperature, vineyards, viticulture, weather, wholesale marketing, New Zealand, South Korea
The need for fresh grapes grown in an environmentally friendly manner has been increasing in the Hwaseong area of the Republic of Korea. However, many problems including abnormal weather, poor soil conditions and incorrect cultural practices, have decreased grape production and fruit quality. Farmers and government officials in the region have failed to solve these problems by employing various cultural techniques. To address such problems, the Foundation of Agricultural Technique Commercialization & Transfer (FACT) implemented a project in 2011 and 2012. This project was conducted jointly with J&A, Inc., an agricultural product delivery company that also trains farmers and runs an education center. In 2011, the project focused on ten farms growing grapevines in Songsan-myeon, Hwaseong City. Cultural practices and storage techniques were applied by eight experts. In 2012, twelve experts helped 50 farms in Songsan-myeon and Seosin-myeon apply appropriate cultural practices and storage techniques according to different vineyard conditions. A specially designed portable hard soil breaker was used to improve poor soil drainage. Several output channels, such as a special distribution for fruit and an online shopping mall, were added to expand sales. In 2011, the grapes were highly rated and won “first class” twice in wholesale market auctions in Seoul. The selling prices were set 20 to 30% higher compared to other farmers’ grapes. In 2012, the quality of grapes was very low due to bad weather conditions, including a long period of substantial precipitation after high temperatures. Nonetheless, the expanding delivery outlets of a special dealing company for fruit and an online shopping mall were relevant to obtain higher income. The quality of grapes produced in this project was higher compared to other farmers’ grapes. The higher quality was made possible through the J&A, Inc., a company designated to select, pack, and export fruit to New Zealand. This project has been implemented with a new grape cultivar in another region using the same business model.