Expo 2023 Doha will provide the Republic of Korea with a suitable platform to showcase distinctive advancements the country has achieved in the field of agricultural technology and smart farming, according to Han Hoon, the vice-minister of the ministry of agriculture, food and rural affairs (MAFRA).
Citing the six-month International Horticultural Exhibition (Expo 2023 Doha) event, which is ongoing at Al Bidda Park, Han shared examples of successful projects or agreements that have played a key role in elevating Qatar-South Korea ties through agricultural and food-related collaboration in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times.
“The ministry is participating in the Expo 2023 Doha to strengthen a co-operative partnership with Qatar. The ministry is showcasing a 1,322sq m outdoor garden and a pavilion to exhibit South Korea’s smart farming technologies.
“The main theme of the exposition is sustainable agriculture for the future and the environment to mitigate and reduce desertification. Therefore, the event will provide a great opportunity for the ministry to demonstrate South Korea’s unique agricultural technology of the future. I truly hope that Expo 2023 Doha will be held with great success,” Han pointed out.
During his recent state visit to Qatar, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol inaugurated the Korean pavilion at Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha in the presence of HE the Minister of Municipality Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie, who is also chairman of the national committee for hosting the expo, as well as other Qatari ministers and senior officials.
After inaugurating the pavilion, Yoon was briefed on the most important cutting-edge agricultural technologies, along with the associated technological equipment, according to a report by Qatar News Agency (QNA).
Speaking to QNA, Yoon stressed “his visit to Doha...is an opportunity to commend Qatar for its successful hosting of another important international event following last year’s FIFA World Cup,” adding he is confident Qatar will take on even greater roles in both regional and international arenas.
According to Han, MAFRA is implementing new policies to turn agriculture into an industry for future growth – a key project of the current administration.
Such new policies include training young farmers, promotion of smart farming, expansion of export in ‘K-food’ and the upstream and downstream industries, and the development of new industries, such as food-tech, among others.
“Food-tech, a merger of food and technology, refers to a new industry of applying cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and biotechnology, among others, to the entire value chain covering all the business processes, including production, manufacturing, distribution, and delivery, with regard to agro-fishery products. Instances of food tech include a cooking robot, a food-serving robot, a food delivery robot, and artificial meat,” Han explained.
Han started his public service career in 1992 at South Korea’s ministry of strategy and finance, which is in charge of the nation’s macroeconomic and fiscal policies. He was responsible for budgeting and economic policy and also has experience in allocating budgets for innovation in the agricultural sector, such as the ‘Project for Establishing the Smart Farm Innovation Valley.’
“Since I took office as commissioner of Statistics Korea in May 2022, I have been in charge of the nation’s statistical policy. I was also in charge of promoting innovation in national statistics to produce statistics and data necessary for science-based decision-making. In July this year, I was appointed vice-minister of the ministry of agriculture, food and rural affairs.
“With a long tradition and history, the ministry of agriculture, food and rural affairs is responsible for stable food supply and food security for the public. The ministry is also playing a pivotal role in promoting a balanced development of land across the nation through systematic development and preservation of rural areas,” Han added.
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