S. Korean food maker Nongshim partners with agriculture ministry to help young farmers

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 20, 2024, 12:30 Updated : March 20, 2024, 19:23
This image was created using generative AI service Karloai
[This image was created using the generative AI service Karlo.ai]
SEOUL -- Nongshim, a major South Korean food company recognized globally mainly for its popular instant noodle and snack products, has partnered with an agricultural information service agency operated by the agriculture ministry to provide support for young farmers who plan to build up their professional farming careers.

South Korea's farming sector is heavily affected by the country's rapidly aging phenomenon. Farming villages are being depopulated due to young people leaving to large cities looking for jobs. Government data showed that more than 70,000 farmers chose to retire in 2019 due to old age. About 46 percent of the farming population consists of old people over 70, and about 70 percent of farmers grow crops on pieces of land that are smaller than one hectare.

However, there is a demand for new career opportunities from people who wish to leave urban areas to become farmers. In 2021, a total of 515,434 people left cities to rural farming villages to become farmers and 235,904 were people aged less than 40 years old. Some young farmers use traditional farming techniques while others receive government and private support to adopt new techniques such as smart farming.

Nongshim said that the company and the Korea Agency of Education, Promotion and Information Service in Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (EPIS) signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in an incubation project for young potato farmers.

The food maker had been supporting potato farmers through the agriculture ministry's nurturing program since 2021. Nongshim will help 10 selected farmers through the whole process of potato farming including the sowing of seed potatoes and the sales of finished products. For the last three years, Nongshim has purchased about 685 tons of potatoes from farmers through the incubation program.

"This incubation program is very effective because it helps young farmers start their new career while Nongshim is provided with high-quality potatoes," a Nongshim official said on March 20,
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