Shigemi Hirata, Chief Executive Officer of Japan-based Hirata Industries, has played a significant role in introducing South Australian premium produce to previously untapped international markets and in supporting the State’s industry growth around the world.
Mr Hirata’s commitment to sourcing clean, natural products has seen Hirata Industries import canola from South Australia, in particular Kangaroo Island Pure Grain, for a number of years.
The prohibition of commercial cultivation of non-genetically modified (GM) food crops in South Australia until at least 2019 is a strong drawcard for Mr Hirata to South Australian produce. He is recognised as the pioneer of importing canola from Kangaroo Island farmers – a product which is favoured due to its premium quality grade and non-GM status. He has also assisted in expanding exports of other products from Kangaroo Island including Ligurian honey.
With South Australia being such an important supplier to his company, Mr Hirata is pleased to be promoting the quality of South Australian produce.
"There is strong demand in Japan to buy from suppliers and businesses which grow and source non-GM products," Mr Hirata said.
"Consumers in Japan are prepared to pay for natural products which they are certain have been produced in a clean and sustainable environment. For that reason we made the shift to purchase almost all of our canola supplies from Kangaroo Island."