Korean agriculture: Lessons for Pakistan | By Rana Tahir Shahbaz
THE rapid progress of South Korean economy is reflected strongly in the changing role of agriculture.
Korean government took necessary measures to diversify the rural economy through the promotion of agricultural value addition.
In order to get stable production of agricultural goods, the Republic of Korea used together traditional and modern techniques and adopted Information Communication Technology (ICT) to help farmers grow fruitful farms.
By using robots installed with 3D cameras, some farmers get artificial intelligence and managing the whole farm and pick thousands of ripe barriers even.
The purposeful 3D cameras measure the size and colour of the berry to check if the berry is ripe to be picked.
Korean smart farming allows a less use of energy, pesticides free and less use of fertilizers’ consumption.
Throughout Korea’s long history, farmers of Korea came across many difficulties: frequent invasion by the neighbouring countries, suffering under colonial rule, the Korean War, a vicious cycle of rural poverty etc. A sense of fatalism by the farmers was deeply rooted in their physique.
By changing the age old infrastructure of rural villages through their own efforts, this fatalism was transformed from a “we cannot” to “we can do” attitude.
The success of South Korea in worldwide acknowledgment for its consistent production of high-quality ginseng and rice and is determined to remain one of the top countries in the world for agricultural technology.
The government is providing local farmers with smart farms which are indoor farms growing crops based on a modified record.
By using a smartphone or a computer, farmers are able to observe and manage growing situations in their smart farms distantly or even being in another country.
South Korea has established Agricultural Centre for Research in Pakistan for joint research under the Korea Program on International Agriculture with the purpose of innovation in agricultural technology and techniques in seed development and smart farming to help improve small farms productivity and increasing income of small farmers.
The farm owner will also be able to control the temperature and humidity. These smart farms will be soil-free and use mixed water and nutritional supplements to help the crops grow.
By changing the age old infrastructure of rural villages through their own efforts, this fatalism was transformed from a “we cannot” to “we can do attitude”.
Pakistan has an outlook at the present to use successful Korean models by using processing/value addition and marketing of the farm produce at the local level, agricultural research and extension, livelihood diversification and non-farm opportunities, social mobilization and farmers’ cooperatives, effective linkages and sustainable livelihoods. Agricultural growth in Pakistan has remained a challenge.
Education and skill development of rural masses is one of the key components of Korean rural development strategies.
Agricultural universities of Korea offer tailored made training courses for the farmers.
Pakistan can learn from Korean experience regarding education and skill development in rural areas.
In Pakistan we have almost no integration research and extension as both pillars of agriculture work in their own domain.
Rural Development Administration of Korea can be a role model for provision of agricultural research and extension services to farming community.
—The writer is Director Special Reports in Pakistan Observer.