Maeil Business Newspaper has hosted "The 17th Vision Korea National Conference" at the Hotel Shilla on March 24 in celebration of its 44th anniversary. Under the theme "Agrigento Korea, Strong High-Tech Agricultural Industry to Lead S. Korean Economy", a proposal was made to create a special district for the agricultural industry on the 30,000-hectare reclaimed land on the west coast.
The main idea is to divide 12 of the reclaimed land largely into three areas and designate them as large-scale special districts. The areas will advance as bases for high-tech agricultural export products.
Netherlands, the world’s second largest country to export agricultural goods, operates a 9,600-hectare glass greenhouse complex which is the main source of income for the country. When considering the size, 30,000-hectare of land area for creating a district to export high-tech agricultural goods is large enough.
This means that four areas of reclaimed land in the northern region (Sihwa and Hwaong), two in the middle region (Saemangeum and Nampo) and four in the southern region (Yeongsan River Ⅲ-1) will be designated as Sihwa special district, Saemangeum special district and Yeongsan River special district, respectively.
The government will enact a special law to be applied to the special districts for the agricultural industry. Under the new law, more drastic tax cuts and alleviated regulations will be made to the districts compared to the free economic zone.
Maeil Business Newspaper holds the vision of advancing the west coast as Asia’s top agriculture industry belt by attracting agricultural capitol and technology from home and abroad.
When the markets near the three major districts and the infrastructures such as airport and port are considered, growth strategies of the agribusiness can be developed by each district. Moreover, the agriculture in the area can evolve into commercialized farming from small farming as the areas of each district will be over 9,300ha (93 million square meters). When distribution complex and terminal for Agri-Food processing trade are created in the reclaimed area of Saemangeum, the center of the southwestern coast, South Korea can become the Mecca of food processing trade in East Asia.
The Prime Minister Jeong Woon-chan, who delivered a congratulatory address, stressed that "The Netherlands makes double the income of South Korean semiconductor exports by the exports of agricultural products." He went on saying that South Korea can make the same outcome as well.
Kim Hyong-O, Speaker of the South Korean National Assembly, said that "It all depends on the politicians and the government whether we can improve the nation’s agricultural industry to a higher value added agricultural bio-environment." He also added that "The revolution of the nation’s agricultural industry can arise from anywhere. It can be changed with a little bit more of interests from the government and the politicians."
[Written by In-su Kim - Minjeong Song, Jin Choi / edited by Soyoung Chung]
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