Korean Agri­cul­tural Ma­chin­ery Expo show­cases the fu­ture of agri­cul­ture

Agriculture - - Contents -

IMAG­INE sev­eral ex­hi­bi­tion halls filled with noth­ing but dif­fer­ent kinds of farm equip­ment on dis­play. This is what it’s like at the Korean Ex­hi­bi­tion for Ma­chin­ery Equip­ment, Science, and Tech­nol­ogy for Agri­cul­ture (KIEMSTA), held ev­ery two years in Cheo­nan City in South Korea.

The event is or­ga­nized by the Korea Agri­cul­tural Ma­chin­ery In­dus­try Co­op­er­a­tive (KAMICO), a non­profit gov­ern­ment cor­po­ra­tion made up of South Korean man­u­fac­tur­ers of farm equip­ment, and is one of five ma­jor ex­pos of its kind around the world.

The ma­chines come in a range of sizes and func­tions. Some of them were highly spe­cific, such as a pomegranate peeler and corer (it also hap­pened to be pomegranate sea­son). Oth­ers were ed­u­ca­tional, such as a trac­tor sim­u­la­tor to help farm­ing students learn how to op­er­ate the big ma­chine.

There were ac­tual trac­tors, too. From large ones for in­dus­tri­al­sized farms, to hand trac­tors for smaller plots of land, to driver­less ones that can move seam­lessly in dif­fer­ent direc­tions. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the trac­tors were dif­fer­ent at­tach­able im­ple­ments so that most of the farm tasks can be done by just one ma­chine.

Other ma­chines in­cluded mow­ers, au­to­matic seed­ers, corn and rice millers, planters, and drones.

These ma­chines are par for the course in in­dus­tri­al­ized agri­cul­tural coun­tries like Korea, but many of them are hard to find in a coun­try like the Philip­pines. Philip Kim, KAMICO Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the Philip­pines and CEO of FIT Corea, says that the use of agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery isn’t very wide­spread in the Philip­pines, and it’s prob­a­bly what con­trib­utes to young peo­ple not go­ing into the in­dus­try. “The young gen­er­a­tion don’t want to do hard work,” Philip says. Es­pe­cially here in the Philip­pines, agri­cul­tural ma­chines are not fa­mous and not spread out to the young peo­ple. Be­cause of that, the par­ents don’t want their chil­dren to farm. They want their chil­dren to work in the city.”

Ma­chines are more ef­fi­cient than man­ual la­bor, and can be a boon in a time when la­bor can be scarce. “We have to at­tract young peo­ple to drive trac­tors and they will (dis­cover that farm­ing can be) easy,” Philip says. “Have you tried plant­ing? Even just 10 min­utes, it’s re­ally painful for your waist. So in­stead of that, we need only two peo­ple to ride the trans­planter. You can do three to four hectares a day.”

Korean ma­chines aren’t very well known in the Philip­pines, but KAMICO, through the help of Philip, is hop­ing to change that. “Most man­u­fac­tur­ers use pre­mium me­tal, so the qual­ity and dura­bil­ity is re­ally (high) stan­dard,” Philip says. He also adds that, “all ma­chines (ac­cred­ited) by KAMICO (are) made in Korea.”

The Philip­pine del­e­ga­tion also vis­ited the fac­to­ries of three KAMICO mem­ber com­pa­nies: Kukje Ma­chin­ery Co., Ltd., Asia Tech­nol­ogy Co., Ltd., and Lee-Hwa In­dus­try Co.

Kukje Ma­chin­ery is known as Bran­son Trac­tors out­side Korea. Their ma­chines have been third-party cer­ti­fied as be­ing above in­dus­try stan­dards. Asia Tech in­vented the mini cul­ti­va­tor, a small ma­chine whose dif­fer­ent at­tach­able im­ple­ments makes it ver­sa­tile around the farm—it is the best­selling ma­chine of its kind around the world. Lee-Hwa’s rice and corn millers are com­pact, the per­fect size for a co-op or small farm. Lee-Hwa also em­ploys ten Filipino work­ers, who were happy to see their kababayans vis­it­ing the factory.

Aside from their high qual­ity, Korean trac­tors are hy­draulic, which means they are able to use more at­tach­ments than non­hy­draulic trac­tors. “If there is a hy­draulic sys­tem, you can use more than 50 dif­fer­ent kinds of im­ple­ments,” Philip says. “Ev­ery trac­tor (from Korea) is a full-op­tion trac­tor. And the en­gines (are) eco friendly. Our en­gines (are) tier three en­gines— eco-friendly en­gines. All Korean brands (use them).”

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