Toward a well-prepared agricultural industry

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Toward a well-prepared agricultural industry

With music reminiscent of musicals and operas, stage production surpassing imagination and solid storytelling, Cirque du Soleil has reinvented the circus as an art form. The performance is praised as “the most beautiful movements human bodies can make,” and the production sells more than 7 million tickets annually, making 1 trillion won ($880 million) in revenue. Cirque du Soleil is often cited as an example of blue ocean strategy. It succeeded by developing a whole new market instead of competing against other circus companies.

The agricultural industry is seeking the blue ocean. Lately, the search has expanded to the materials industry. From the primary industry of producing food, agriculture has repeatedly been evolving into a sixth-level industry.

The Rural Development Administration is preparing for another agricultural revolution by creating new growth engines. It is spurring research and development efforts in the food and drug materials industry to treat eczema using antibiotics from the red-headed centipede and other insects, the food processing industry to develop whitening products from tangerines and the biomedical engineering industry to transplant pig organs with a potential for artificial organ transplants.

Registration for functional ingredients is also expanding to replace health supplement food ingredients that are largely imported. In January, for the first time, garlic has been certified with the Rural Development Administration as a functional ingredient for its effect in lowering blood cholesterol levels. The added value of garlic, which has been mostly used as a condiment, is expected to increase to 5.5091 trillion won in the next 10 years.

There is no limit to finding active ingredients in agricultural and food products. More insects are getting ready to be served on the table. Mealworms and Protaetia brevitarsis larvae have been classified as temporary food ingredients in Korea. This year, beetles and crickets will be classified as temporary food ingredients. A well-prepared agricultural industry would present Korea with a better future. We need to find new things no one has discovered yet. There will be no return if we do not try. Nurturing agriculture into a high-value-added industry is the shortcut to creative farming and a key to the new world.

by Lee Yang-ho, Administrator of the Rural Development Administration

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