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Korea National Food Cluster now … becomes ‘a global food industry mecca.’

Foodpolis Support Center, working hard for the success of Korea National Food Cluster

 

The government created the Korea National Food Cluster at Iksan, Jeonbuk for the first time in Northeast Asia and took the lead to promote it as a mecca for the innovative growth of the food industry. Korea National Food Cluster aims at playing a role of a forward base for our foods to target tastes of people around the world with competitiveness for overseas export instead of staying only in Korea. We visited Foodpolis Support Center, responsible for creating an industrial complex, attracting food companies, supporting participating companies and promoting for the success of the Korea National Food Cluster.

 

Currently, there are 29 factories in operation, and 78 companies have moved into or will move into the Korea National Food Cluster. The cluster sales rate at the end of September was around 50%, achieving half the goal. Foodpolis Support Center has prepared a foothold for the development of the institutions by innovating a budget structure and securing a new budget since Director Tae-jin Yun took office in January last year.

 

Even though it is the Korea National Food Cluster, budgets of the nation and the local government of Jeollabukdo were invested 50:50 but the percentage of the government expenditure increased significantly to 90%. This year, the support center could reinforce its role as a support center by securing budget of 68.2 billion won for four new businesses, a functional food formulation center, a raw material intermediate supply center, a youth food foundation hub and a HMR center and hiring 27 new employees.

 

Looking at the attraction status of Korea National Food Cluster, there were six companies in 2015, 25 companies in 2016, as many as 50 companies in 2017, with 69 companies in 2018 and 78 companies as of September 2019. However, it looks like the sales are not so good even though five years have passed since attracting full-scale investment.

 

The reason why the number of resident companies is not increasing significantly is the burden of financial charges for an investment company. For this, since March this year, the payment can be paid in a 5-year interest-free installment plan and a 9% discount is given for one-time payment. Furthermore, by being designated as a national innovative integrated cluster, the regional investment subsidy has increased from 14% to 24%. When applying for a R&D project of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, one extra point was given previously to the evaluation score but now two extra points are given from this year.

 

To support a resident company of the Korea National Food Cluster, a provision to exempt corporate tax for three years and give 50% reduce for two years after that is being promoted. Expenses for wastewater treatment will be supported by revising the ordinances of the local government in the second half of this year to reduce a resident company’s expenses for wastewater treatment. Besides, there are a lot of efforts under way to provide benefits to a resident company by discussing with the local government support for logistics expenses also.

 

Promoting a change in the name of the organization to ‘Korea Institute for Food Industry Cluster’

The support center establishes strategies for a new vision internally by creating a planning department and is promoting 110 management innovations including an ability-oriented performance system. In particular, following the revision of the food industry promotion act, it is promoting a change in the name of the organization from Foodpolis Support Center to Korea Institute for Food Industry Cluster.

The external reliability of the organization is improving by obtaining recognition as an international official test agency. We issue an international official report after obtaining KOLAS (December 2018). We also obtained the pilot plant GMP certificate (September 2017) and passed the follow-up regular evaluation. Now, we are trying to obtain more certifications including a self quality test organization, ISTA and KELAF.

Besides, we are promoting to expand joint use of equipment by non-resident companies other than resident companies, OEM production and toll processing to improve the equipment use rate and prepare a foothold for independence.

Director of Foodpolis Support Center Tae-jin Yun explained, “Korea National Food Cluster will continue to do our role as a partner for success as ‘a mecca for the innovative growth of the food industry’ so that resident companies can be leaders in the food industry based on these results.’

 

Korea National Food Cluster, using all of its resources to attract investment and support resident companies

To attract corporate investments and deal with needs for technology due to changes in the food market, Foodpolis Support Center will complete the construction of the Sauce Industrialization Center on November 1, and operate the HMR Support Center in 2020 to support the rapidly growing HMR industry.

 

We are also recruiting manpower with sufficient experience in administration from the central ministries of the government and reinforcing the support for corporates for successful settlement of resident companies. We met Head of Operation Ki-joo Kim who started for his new post at Foodpolis Support Center in July after working at various departments including the eco-friendly agriculture department, the fruit and horticulture department, the agricultural product management department, the distribution policy department and the horticulture management department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, etc.

 

How are the food company attraction prospects this year?

”When meeting companies that wanted to enter into or were interested in the Korea National Food Cluster, they had a lot of interest in tax benefits. Now, only companies with factories in the capital area can receive tax benefits when moving into the Korea National Food Cluster. Companies with factories in rural areas or new companies cannot receive tax benefits. For this, we are trying to revise the tax reduction and exemption control act but it is pending in the standing committee. If this act is revised, not only companies with factories in the capital area but also companies moving from other areas can be exempted from the corporate tax. We are seeking diverse ways so that resident companies can receive more benefits. We think that we can attract around 90 companies to the Korea National Food Cluster based on these efforts.

 

What are the main promotion plans?

“We are preparing the pilot plant and the sauce industrialization center in the Foodpolis Support Center. The sauce industrialization center will be completed on November 1. It is expected to create profits by operating various toll processing businesses through the sauce industrialization center.

Furthermore, we are planning to operate the HMR center by investing a total of 4.5 billion won next year. We will be equipped with about 50 pieces of HMR research equipment to support basic technologies including △nonheating sterilization technology, freezingㆍdefrosting technology, △consumer cooking convenience technology, △smart packaging technology and △smart distributionㆍlogistics standardization technology. We will also support technologies for △development of foods for old people and babies for long-term storage to pioneer an export market, △development of products for refrigeration and room temperature distribution in containers that can be sterilized secondarily and △development of products improving consumer convenience. It is predicted that the market for old age friendly foods will be promising in the future, foods for people with dysdipsia or foods customized for individual health conditions should be prepared from now.

I think that Foodpolis Support Center always should see its future as a public organization and support companies to succeed. We should start to prepare now to dominate export markets including Japan and Southeast Asia, as well as domestic markets. The budget for a HMR center related new support project is waiting to be passed by the National Assembly. We will not build an additional building for the HMR center. We will use infrastructure in the support center as much as possible to reduce budgets and increase effects.

 

What is the plan for holding the ‘Iksan Foodpolis Expo’?

“’Iksan Foodpolis Expo has been planned as an event where resident companies and family visitors can enjoy together by preparing and operating about 100 booths participated by resident companies and companies that want to enter into and composing various zones such as Chicken and Beer Zone, Kids Zone, etc. ‘Iksan Foodpolis Expo’ was originally planned to be held around Korea National Food Cluster on November 1~2 but has been postponed to May next year to prevent the spread of ASF.

 

 (Source: Food Journal http://www.foodnews.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=71512)

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