□ On January 19, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Minister Chung Hwang-keun, MAFRA)
and the Ministry of Employment and Labor (Minister Lee Jung-sik, MOEL) concluded the Memorandum of Understanding on the government-wide project to promote rural employment at the agricultural field located in Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
○ In addition to the two ministers, Administrative Governor Kim Hak-hong of Gyeongsangbuk-do, Mayor Shin Hyeon-guk of Mungyeong-si, Lawmaker Lim Lee-ja and farmers attended the event and promised active participation and support for this project.
○ After the event, major participants including the two ministers visited the distribution center at producing areas in Mungyeong-si and greenhouse vegetable cultivation sites, encouraged farmers and listened to their voices.
Summary of the event
◈ Date·Venue: Jan.19. (Thur.) 14:30~16:45, Mungyeong-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do (Daegu∙Gyeongbuk Neung-geum Nonghyup, the distribution center at producing areas in Mungyeong-si, etc.)
◈ Content: Concluding the MOU → Meeting on the site → Visiting agricultural field in Myngyeong-si
◈ Major participants: Minister of MAFRA (Chung Hwang-keun), Minister of MOEL (Lee Jung-sik), Administrative Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do (Kim Hak-hong), Mayor of Mungyeong-si (Shin Hyeon-guk), Lawmaker Lim Lee-ja, etc.
□ Recently, agricultural production and demand for agricultural workers are on the rise. However, rural areas are faced with labor shortage due to reducing rural residents and aging population.
* The percentage of people aged over 65 (Nov. 2022, Statistics Korea): Agriculture and fisheries 52.9% (Industry total 11.7%)
□ Meanwhile, addressing labor shortage has faced limitations as previous projects of rural employment have been implemented separately, without enough coordination among organizations or regions. On top of that, working conditions and environment aggravated the labor shortage issue in rural areas.
* The projects have been separately implemented between MAFRA-MOEL, metropolitan-local governments and rural-urban areas.
□ As a result, MAFRA and MOEL coordinated rural work projects which have been implemented by each ministry and decided to devise and implement the government-wide cooperation project based on “Cooperation (協業) among government organizations,” “rural-urban (都農) common prosperity” and “structural improvement of employment (構造改善).”
* Project budget of 2023 (a total of 11.8 billion tentatively): MOEL 4 billion, MAFRA 3.4 billion, Gyeongbuk and Jeonbuk (local governments) 4.4 billion
□ The project is mainly focusing on addressing the issue of labor shortage in rural areas by nurturing urban residents as rural workers. Below are further details of the project.
○ (Organization) All the government organizations related to employment in the agricultural sector including MAFRA, MOEL and local governments together establish the ｢Consultative body to support employment in the agricultural sector｣ and jointly promote the project centering on the consultative body.
○ (Operation) The potential employees are broadly nurtured not only in rural areas but also in urban areas. Also, economically inactive urban people are mainly targeted and their participation in the labor market will be thus promoted. As a result, Korean nationals’ employment and settlement in rural areas are expected to be promoted.
* As of December 2022, economically inactive people among working age population account for 36.7%
(Economically active population 63.3%, the employed 61.3%, the unemployed 1.9%)
○ (Support) Transport, accommodation and food expenses along with work training are provided to the employed. Also, safety training, insurance coverage for injuries and protective equipment are offered, strengthening safety management. Electronic labor contract service will be introduced to better protect rights of the employed.
○ (Management) Online system of agricultural jobs will be established to share information on agricultural work, employers and job seekers, and to support job placement and signing employment contracts.
○ (Project regions) This year, the project will be implemented in Gyeongsangbuk-do and Jeollabuk-do. In 2024, it will be implemented nationwide.
□ Minister Chung Hwang-keun of MAFRA said, “We will do all we can to stabilize farm management by increasing agricultural workforce through various collaboration with relevant ministries starting from this project. The largest number of foreign workers has been secured this year. The public seasonal worker project, which addresses the issues of the existing seasonal worker system, will be expanded and smoothly implemented in cooperation with rural employment agencies.”
□ Minister Lee Jung-sik of Employment and Labor said, “MAFRA, MOEL and local governments will make government-wide efforts to address aggravating employment issues in the agricultural sector. The collaborative project will not only directly fill labor shortage but also realize policy values such as ｢collaboration｣ among government organizations, urban-rural ｢common prosperity｣ and ｢structural improvement｣ of employment.”
□ Ministers both mentioned “If this collaborative project generates more job opportunities in agriculture, a virtuous cycle of increasing rural population and rural development will be created, enabling us to overcome the crisis of shrinking rural areas,” and reiterated the objective of the project.