SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye called Friday for greater investments in the agriculture sector as she stressed its importance to the country's future growth.
Park made the remarks during a policy briefing by the agriculture ministry at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, saying the agriculture and livestock industry should become a core industry of the future.
"Even as we took the path to high-level industrialization, there were perceptions that (the agriculture industry) was somehow separate from the high-tech (industry), but I think we should first change these perceptions," Park said.
The agriculture industry is a "life industry" that is responsible for what people eat and a "security industry" that lays the foundation for the country's safety, she said.
"The development of the agriculture, livestock and food industry is essential in achieving the new government's administrative motto of 'people's happiness,'" she added.
Park also outlined the government's three key principles in agricultural policy, which are increasing the incomes of farmers, expanding social welfare services in rural areas and boosting the agriculture sector's competitiveness.
"In order for the (agriculture industry) to develop into a future industry, we need ... research and support that does not lag behind the world," she said.
One way to raise farmers' incomes would be to transform and promote the agriculture industry into a comprehensive industry that includes manufacturing, distribution and tourism, she said.
She instructed officials to build an insurance system that farmers can rely on in the event of natural disasters, and expand it to cover more people and regions.
Citing the Dutch agriculture industry, which she said was 95 percent science and five percent labor, she also stressed the need to turn the agriculture industry into a high value-added industry by blending it with advanced science and information and communications technology.
Building a database for weather, markets and production volumes, and simplifying the distribution system would be some ways to make that happen, she said.
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