|▲ Sunghan Farming / CEO Sunghan Park|
Rice is the key stable crop in South Korea. It is produced 100% domestically. Recently however, its crown status seems to decline fast as more and more people are enjoying breads and noodles instead. It is notable that wheat production in South Korea is relatively low compared to rice. Seeing the importance of the market, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has announced to increase self sufficiency to 9.9% by 2022. South Koreans consumed 218 tons of wheat as of August 2019 but self sufficiency stayed around 1.4%.
Located in Guryong Village on the foot of Waryong Mountain is Sunghan Farming. It has grown rice, barley and wheat for years with continuous investment in farming methods that are good and cost effective. The first class water quality in the area invites fish that can only live in such clean water. Tadpole shrimp are also proliferating itself at the end of rice planting. Making the most of this advantage, Sunghan Farming is producing around 40 tons of a variety of crops every year. The products are sold at the market under its own brand ‘Gokmul Yecha’ meaning ‘praise the crops’.
Sunghan Park, CEO of Sunghan Farming, worked for LS Mtron, an agricultural machinery company, and returned to his hometown Sacheon City, South Gyeongsang Province, in 1997. He poured his energy into growing native crops and found out that our native wheat contain 20 to 30% less omega-5 gliadin than that of imported. Omega-5 gliadin is known to be a cause for allergic reaction. Moreover, he realized that increase of self sufficiency contributed to increase of income of native farmers. The seeding can be done even in January and farmers can expect a good harvest if dealing abnormally high temperatures in June effectively.
Serving as the president of the Native Wheat Society from 2009, Park has played various roles in various related organizations public or private in order to increase quality of native wheat and to spread its excellence to the world. He is acknowledged from the industry for his contributions to seeding and growing methods, training farmers, increasing self sufficiency rate and income of farmers, stabilized supply, and expanding cultivated areas. In recognition, he received a number of citations from Mayor of Sacheon City and Governor of South Gyeongsang Province, including a Presidential citation.
“It is my goal to produce and supply native wheat by 100% like rice. For this, I and my fellow farmers will sweat harder for efficiency of growing, quality and price competitiveness. At the same time, we are working on installing crop vending machines so that people can buy our native crops anytime anywhere” says Park.