South Korean Government encouraging young farmers and smart agriculture
President Yoon Suk-yeol said on 5 October 2022 when he visited tomato and strawberry greenhouses in Sangju city, Gyeongbuk province, “young farmers are the source of growth for continued innovation in the agricultural industry. The government will provide full support for the promising young people to gain expertise in smart farming, strengthened by investment in education and training programs in the years to come."
The Korean government will nurture 30,000 young farmers by 2027 as part of a long-term plan to increase the number of farmers aged under 40 up to 10 percent of the total farmers by 2040.
A monthly subsidy of 1.1 million won (785 euros) will be provided for three years to 4,000 young farmers seeking permanent settlement in rural areas next year. An agricultural development investment fund totaling 100 billion won will be established to help them with housing, enhanced living conditions and financing.
The ministry plans to increase the ceiling of the loans available to young farmers and lower the borrowing rate. The period for repayment of debt will be extended to 25 years, 10 years longer than the current 15 years. This will lower the burden of repayment of principal and interest by 45 percent per year.
President Yoon also mentioned that smart agriculture is a solution for agriculture to take a new leap forward. He added that in order to overcome the difficulties faced by rural areas such as population decline and climate change, the spread of smart agriculture using big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technology is absolutely necessary.
The government plans to expand education programs tailored to the conditions and levels of the farmers and consulting opportunities to solve on-site problems. There also will be hefty investment in research efforts to integrate advanced technologies into industrial efficiency and overall productivity.
These are part of measures unveiled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on the five-year plan for 2023 to 2027, mapped out to elevate the traditionally labor-intensive industry to a new high-tech sustainable growth driver.
The agricultural department of the Netherlands embassy is keeping in touch with the Korean central and provincial governments on possible cooperation for the education and training of young Korean farmers. It includes making training programs in Korea and the Netherlands, building lease farms for young farmers and establishing training centers with demo farms.
Korea times and Financial News