Agriculture Innovation Department
Kung-Kuan Township is the only jujube production area in Taiwan. The annual Jujube Culture Festival attracts a large number of visitors to Miaoli. With the featured product and technical expertise, the local farmers, however, still lacked experience on quality control. To seek breakthrough and develop more diversified marketing channels, the international certification system was introduced in the management of the jujube cultivation zone to enhance the efficiency of production.
Facing the problems: Production conditions improved from the basics
With a certified processing plant and a professional technical team, Kung-Kuan Farmers’ Association still had the problem of lacking strict hygiene and safety management standards so the marketing channel of jujubes had not been well developed. Along with the organizing of the jujube cultivation zone, advice has been received from consultants to focus on three core issues, i.e. business management, processing environment improvement, and hardware facility optimization. To ensure a mechanism of hygiene and safety management, the systems of HAPPC and ISO22000 were introduced for total reforms on the ideas of operators, daily operation norms, and operation forms and documents. The idea is to integrate the effort of jujube farmers to ensure product safety, to establish the core brand values, to seek segmented market development to avoid red ocean competition, and also to bear the responsibility of consumer protection as a means of entering the high-end consumer market.
Gradual improvement: Steady development of high quality
Based on sales performance of the past two years in Kung-Kuan Jujube Zone, the goal was set up for an annual growth of 25% of overall sales for various jujube products. Improvement was sought, following the demands from the channel operators, on the processing plants' environment to have segmented control on the flow of people and goods for good hygiene and safety norms in the processing plants to win the consumers' confidence in terms of food safety. As a result of the joint effort of the farmers’ association, the plant director and all the staff, the ISO22000 certification was obtained in 2016 as a strong boost to the value of the brand.
However, the certification was just the starting point. More challenges lay ahead, including the personnel training, equipment upgrading, and management system implementation, etc. Upon the advice of the consultants, the Food Processing Plant of Kung-Kuan Farmers’ Association, following the Good Hygiene Practice (GHP), has set up 21 check points, including production records, raw material acceptance records, delivery records, instrument calibration, complete labeling, etc. Inspection is implemented on the acceptance specifications for raw materials, additives, and packaging materials to further raise the level of food safety.
Channel Development: To increase total revenue
With standardized production and the value of the brand name, Kung-Kuan Jujube Zone now shifted the reform objective to that of channel development. The advice received from the consultants is to collect and analyze customer data to develop specific marketing plans. The traffic flows at the affiliated shopping center are re-designed for a more convenient shopping experience. The online shopping platform of Kung-Kuan Farmers’ Association will also be optimized so that the sales objectives are reached with the integration of both the online and offline platforms, making Kung-Kuan jujubes more popular.
(Photo Courtesy of Kung-Kuan Farmers’ Association)