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Nghiên cứu > Kinh tế - Kinh doanh
Korean agriculture to spread throughout world
05/07/2020 GMT+7

Korean agriculture to spread throughout world

By Kim Jaehyun

Director of Crop Research Group for Desert Environment of UAE 

National Institute of Crop Science, Rural Development Administration

The government-run Rural Development Administration (RDA) has implemented a rice cultivation project in the desert region of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), following a bilateral summit held on March 25, 2018. The UAE requested Korea's cooperation in the agricultural sectors of cooler package technology, the application of the Korean greenhouse model to a desert environment, and the verification and transmission of Korean technology to cultivate rice in desert regions. This led the National Institute of Crop Science of the RDA and the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in 2019 to push for and cooperate in a rice cultivation project in the Mideast country's desert region of Sharjah.

We initially considered rice cultivation in the UAE to be impossible due to the desert environment there. To apply our rice cultivation technology to a desert region, we conducted preliminary studies on a variety of rice and cultivation technologies in similar environments within Korea. The process of testing produced continuous difficulties, however. The UAE had little development of farmland and related industries for rice and other food crops, as well as nearly no experts in the field. It was extremely difficult to cultivate and harvest rice there without our researchers' efforts, from setting up infrastructure facilities, purchasing materials and developing farmland to installing agricultural machinery and managing nutrients and water necessary for rice cultivation.


Researchers from the Rural Development Administration of Korea who participated in a bilateral rice cultivation project with the UAE launched in November 2019 in the Arab country's Sharjah desert region help develop suitable farmland to grow rice. (RDA)

After about 240 days of efforts, we confirmed that it is possible to grow rice in the UAE's desert region. We also learned, however, of the many obstacles to overcome. To resolve these problems, we developed a new technology for drastically conserving water in a desert environment. The  UAE's desert region will thus see golden rice fields in this year's second half. Until then, our "Desert Green Project, Rice Cultivation" will continue.

We are dreaming of going beyond the desert environment of the Middle East. To resolve famine in Africa, the RDA and the international research institution AfricaRice are jointly developing a unified rice variety for supply to each African country. The variety has a large yield applicable to the African continent. The volume of the rice variety registered in Senegal is about twice as that of a domestic counterpart, so the cultivation area continues to be expanded. 

Through the Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative, we are forging ahead with supplying seeds to 14 African countries. In the near future, rice developed with Korean technology can be bought on the African market. Imagine people worldwide eating a rice variety developed with Korean technology and cultivated with Korean agricultural machinery while listening to K-pop or watching K-dramas. I have no doubt that this is no dream and will become reality.


Asemi, a type of rice developed by the Rural Development Administration for cultivation in arid regions, was harvested in the UAE in May this year. (RDA)

Translated by Korea.net staff writer Lee Jihae 
Khoa Hàn Quốc học - Faculty of Korean Studies - 한국학부
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