Korean Agricultural Machinery Expo showcases the future of agriculture
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).”