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S. Korea to address pollution in agriculture with EVs, self-driving machines Updated: 2020-02-15 08:55:29 KST


Farming accounts for roughly five percent of South Korea's fine dust emissions.
One of the main causes is the use of outdated equipment.
Agriculture has been a blind spot in terms of regulations on exhaust gas.
But with climate change and air pollution becoming a global issue, there are growing calls for farming to become eco-friendly.
One alternative is the use of electric mobility.
Existing tractors run on diesel.
But electric tractors, with electric motors and batteries, create zero emissions, eliminating exhaust gases as a first step toward eco-friendly agriculture.
Diesel tractors might seem cheaper in the short run because of the high cost of EV batteries, but those costs are decreasing and regulators charge fees on the use of diesel.

Experts say electric tractors are more cost effective in terms of power usage.

(Korean- )
"To use a diesel tractor for two hours a day for one month, the fuel would cost around 4 hundred U.S. dollars. But with electric equipment, the cost is only around fourty dollars, making it ten times more cost-efficient and lifting a burden on farmers."

Another problem is the shortage of labor due to Korea's aging society.
That's where "smart farming" comes in.
Unmanned tractors are controlled remotely.
Using weather information from an A.I. tractor, a farmer can choose which job to do for the day.
Then the tractor can plant, manage and harvest crops, enabling mass production with little labor.

But the government's support and research in this area is insufficient.

(Korean- )
"Because of the high price, the demand in the market is low, leading to smaller supplies. To introduce the product in the market for the first time, some government subsidies are necessary."

In a bid to solidify the legal backing for more research and support, experts from the industry have come together.
At Korea's EV and AV Agricultural Machinary Policy Forum, experts will come up with policy agendas for each quarter and give suggestions to government and the National Assembly for legislation.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.
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