The Place Where An Aussie Mango Costs Up To $185
The South Korean market is hungry for Aussie produce, with a single mango fetching up to $185.
“In a department store, name the price. I've seen them anywhere 20,000 -150,000 WON ($25 - $185 AU),” says Marie Piccone from Manbullo Mangoes.
In 2010 Ms Piccone became the first Australian Mango producer to export to Korea and since then the appetite has only grown.
The market is lucrative because Korea has very strict import regulations.
Manbullo spent $2.5million on a vapour heat treatment plant to meet the high quarantine standards and that is not where the expense ends.
“It is very easy to loose fruit based on the fact that you are heating five tone at a time up to temperatures of 47 degrees, it’s not for the faint hearted.”
“If it was really easy, like some of the non-quarantine markets, everybody is in it. There’s just exporters and opportunists in those markets.”
Recently, the first shipment of Australian broccoli made its way to Korea.
“We dealt with Korea’s largest exporter of broccoli. Previously sourcing broccoli from China and the US. But this broccoli from Australia was, the quality was terrific,” says Daniel Kim, the Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner in Korea.
“The reality is that if you are patient enough, you are resilient enough to jump through those hoops, those same barriers work to your favour.”
Australia’s ambassador to Korea James Choi says there is room to grow our exports, “There are great opportunities for Australian businesses, we are recapturing market share.”
Our nation fell behind others that were faster off the mark to sign free trade agreements with South Korea.
Trade experts also believe fear of threats from North Korea is seen as a key reason Australian business don't look at opportunities in the South.
But hostility from Pyongyang has been present for the last seven decades, as South Korea has transformed from one of the poorest nations to an economic power house.
“The reality is that Seoul has been under the threat of north Korea all my life” says business consultant Peter Underwood.
“There is of course the small probability of a catastrophic event, but I don’t think that has changed in the last five to ten years.”
There are strong signs tensions are thawing, with promising talks between the leaders of the two Koreas.
With the prospect of peace on the Korean peninsula, there may be opportunities for Australian businesses in North Korea.
“Australian companies are talking to their Korean partners about what opportunities may exist, but it is still a big if,” says Mark Vaile, Chairman of the Australia Korea Business Council.
Mr Vaile says that while setting up shop in North Korea may be some time off, there are plenty of opportunities in the South.