DUBAI: Japanese agricultural co-operative, JA Ichikawa, hosted a showcasing of Japanese pears, known as Nashi, across restaurants in Dubai from Oct. 13 to 16.
Unlike regular pears, Nashi pears are usually larger, rounder, crisper, and juicer. They originated in Asia in the 16th century and are very high in fiber, vitamin C, and a good source of hydration. The fruit can work in both sweet and savory dishes.
While Nashi pears are very popular in Asia, they are barely known across the Middle East region.
Based in Chiba prefecture in Japan, JA Ichikawa is the biggest regional collective trademark that harvests quality Nashi pears.
Hiroyuki Konno, president of JA Ichikawa, visited various restaurants across Dubai, such as Itadaku, Netsu, Kobeya to present the delicious pears. He was accompanied by Arfiya Eri, Japan’s youngest female parliamentarian, who currently represents Ichikawa and Urayasu, as well as Hiroshi Shimoonoda, president of JA Kagoshima Kimotuski.
While this is Konno’s first visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in three years, JA Ichikawa has participated in multiple events in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar to showcase the pears over the last 10 years.
The president expressed that his goal is for people to gift boxes of Nashi pears to others as a premium gift box, as they usually come at a high price.
Konno wants to establish a presence in the UAE before expanding to Saudi Arabia. “There is a possibility,” said Konno, as the two presidents noticed how big the Saudi market has become since the pandemic.
Konno and Shimoonoda shared that they will be back in the GCC region more often as they feel encouraged by the locals who are interested in trying authentic Japanese products. Konno shared that he has received extremely positive feedback from locals who have tried Nashi.
Eri expressed her pride in accompanying the chairmen on their journey to Dubai. “It gives me a great sense of honor to be able to visit here,” she said. “At the core of Arab culture and Japanese culture is food. It gives me great joy to be able to connect through our pears.”
JA Ichikawa pears are not currently sold in the UAE, but they used to get sold in Abu Dhabi 10 years ago for 1,000 AED (¥40,740) for a box containing five Nashi pears.