Gov’t to create ‘smart farm valleys’The government laid out a plan to create smart farm clusters by 2022 that will contribute to creating 4,300 jobs.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Monday, it will be creating four “smart farm innovation valleys.”
The first two innovation valleys will be selected by the end of July this year after accepting applicants starting April 23.
The goal is to double the size of smart farms from the current 4,010 hectares to 7,000 by 2020 while increasing the number of smart livestock farms from the current 790 to 5,750.
In order to achieve this goal, the government will be setting up vocational centers supporting start-ups. The centers will be educating 600 young people to become smart farm specialists.
The ministry said the goal is to move away from past policy practices that have centered simply on licensing smart farms.
The new policy is to implement a three-stage system. The center will offer education and financial support, which it hopes will lead to research and development through start-ups.
The education program will include business management and will take 20 months to complete. However, it is only available to those aged between 18 and 40.
Under the previous system, the education programs were short-term and relied on a system where current smart farmers would pass down their knowledge. The new education system will not only have lectures from experts invited from overseas but provide an opportunity for those with exceptional scores to take trips abroad to learn more.
The government said they already selected 60 young trainees last month.
Those who graduate from the program will be allowed to start working on a smart farm with reduced costs, including lower interest on loans for five years.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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