SEJONG, Mar. 12 (Korea Bizwire) — In South Korea, more than half of urban residents returning to the countryside for farming went back to their hometown to start a farming business, and recent data shows that in as little as five years, their household income surpassed the average income in the country’s farming industry.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced on Monday that 53 percent of farmers have returned to their rural hometowns to engage in farming business, while 37.4 percent of returnees to the countryside also came back to their rural hometowns to live there.
Among the city dwellers returning to the country to farm, 19.2 percent went to a rural area that was not their hometown to start a farming business there.
The majority of the returning farmers and residents said they voluntarily made the decision to leave urban life because they preferred nature (26.1 percent), saw potential in the farming business (17.9 percent), wanted to live closer to their family (10.4 percent), and wanted to regain health (10.4 percent).
For the younger age groups below the age of 40, 29 percent said they returned because they were attracted to the potential of the farming industry, while among older age groups, many said they preferred nature (28 percent).
For those who returned to the countryside to live there, 20.4 percent said they preferred nature, 13.8 percent said they wanted to find leisure, and 13.6 percent said they had grown tired of city life.
Overall, 6 out of 10 returnees said they were satisfied with their new life in the countryside.
For returning residents who weren’t satisfied, 30 percent pointed to financial difficulties as the major cause. For returning farmers, a lack of farming skills and experience was the major cause of dissatisfaction (53 percent).
Returning farmers took an average of 27.5 months to prepare for returning and starting a farming business in the countryside.
“We need to come up with stronger measures to provide assistance to those wishing to return to the countryside,” said the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
“We also need stronger support to create and support jobs that can help resolve a lack of income as returnees settle in the countryside.”
“Based on the study results, we will look into policy options to further support the returnees,” the ministry added.
M. H. Lee (email@example.com)