By Lee Kyung-sik, Publisher-Chairman, The Korea Post
“The insect industry is a bio industry and it is a future-oriented industry with very strong growth potential.
“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has termed insects ‘Little Domestic Animals,’ and paid attention to the unlimited potential of growth of the industry.
“Insects used to remain in the domain of studies and pets, but the range of use of them is expanding very widely into various other areas, including food, feed, fertilizers and medicinal raw materials. I am sure that they will soon become a new source of energy and vitality of the Republic of Korea as well as our rural community.”
So said Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-an at the opening ceremony of the World Insect Expo Yecheon at the Yecheon County of Gyeongsangnam-do on July 30, 2016, which was attended by an estimated 10 thousand as well as the leaders of the central and local governments. In particular, the opening ceremony was attended by nearly 40 ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps accompanied by their spouses.
Specifically, Ambassadors Grecia Pichardo of the Dominican Republic (dean of the visiting members of the SDC that day), Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain and Gerhard Sabathil of the European Union plus ambassadors and other senior diplomats from about 20 other countries of the world attended the opening ceremony that day.
It was the third year since the Expo acquired the name of ‘World’ capping the designation of the insect exposition, which represented the added sense of importance to the expo.
Opened on the theme of “Smart Future with Insects,’ the Expo is scheduled for over one half of the month running through Aug. 15.
The opening ceremony of the expo was attended, in addition to Prime Minister Hwang, Agriculture-Food-Rural Affairs Minister Lee Dong-phil, Governor Kim Kwan-yong of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province and Mayor Lee Hyun-joon of the Yecheon County.
The visiting ambassadors and senior diplomats with their spouses were guided to inspect various exhibition sites and event halls of the Expo, which covered insects, the insect industry and bio industry, the Fabre’s Garden.
The visiting ambassadors and other members of the visiting Diplomatic Corps were warmly received by Prime Minister Hwang and the leaders of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province as well as by Mayor Lee Hyun-joon of the Yecheon County in person.
Prior to the opening ceremony, the visiting ambassadors, other senior diplomats and their spouse were welcomed at a ceremony.
Speaking to the visiting members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, Mayor Lee said, “This is the third year we have been hosting the World Insect Expo and this time we are graced with the attendance of the Prime Minister, who has come all the way from Seoul to grace us with his presence. We are looking forward to further promotion and development of the insect industry in Korea and around the world.” (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this Article.)
In response to the welcome speech of the mayor, Ambassador Grecia Pichardo of the Dominican Republic, behalf of the visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps, said, “Opportunities to visit events like this allow us diplomats and members of the international community, a meaningful opportunity to learn more about Korean culture and draw comparisons with their own ultimately bridging the gap between cultures.
I would like to express my hope for the continued strengthening of the cooperation ties between the Korea and the Dominican Republic, and also with the countries present here today.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this Article.)
Located at the foot of 1,430-meter high Mt. Sobaek in southeastern part of Korea, Yecheon County has been preserving clean environment with thick forests throughout the region. Capitalizing on this clean and eco-friendly environment, the Yecheon County government initiated programs of researching and developing industrial insects by establishing an industrial insects research institute in 1998 ahead of other local autonomous governments. Based on research achievements, resources and experiences accumulated for a decade, the County authority hosted the first insect expo in 2007, and the Insect Bio Expo in 2012 when it showcased as many as 330,000 insects of 100 species, such as honey bees, osmiacornifrons, dynastid beetles, dorcushopeis and protaetiabrevitarsis.
Acknowledging achievements and programs, the then Ministry of Knowledge Economy (now integrated into the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) designated the County as the special zone of insect industry in 2009. Encouraged by the designation, the municipal government has been concentrating efforts on developing and commercializing insects as well as development of eco-friendly agriculture. It also built the ecology institute of insects and a butterfly observation park.
Having grown as the home of insects, the Yecheon County government has decided to hold the World Insect Expo Yecheon 2016 for 17 days from July 30 to August 1 this year organized by Yecheon Insect Expo Organizing.
The expo is designed to showcase the mysterious world of insects and vision of insect industry through a large variety of things to see, experience and enjoy at diverse eco-edutainment-oriented programs of exhibitions, festivals and events. The expo facilities consist of six major spaces, as was briefly mentioned earlier, including the insect theme hall, insect experiencing hall, insect industry hall, Fabre’s garden, insect ecosystem park and bio-industry exhibition hall.
As the world’s largest insect exposition, programs and events of the World Insect Expo Yecheon 2016 include special exhibition of edible insects, rare insects and endangered insects, insect cooking contests, insect food cooking show, experience of insect foods, children’s cartoon contest with live drawing show of Kim Pung, a popular webtoonist, eco-friendly painting contest of children, and operation of insect-featuring 3D video show, using these facilities. Symposiums on insects and insect industry will also take place during the Expo.
The insect theme hall provides visitors with a chance of reevaluating the inherent value and features of insects, and exploring future life by presenting potential of insect industry. It introduces the interesting world of waterside insects that fiercely struggle for existence, forest insects that build environment, and smart insects in cities. It will also deliver necessity of the insect industry that emerges as an alternative for prevent destruction of environment and shortage of resources by highlighting insects that help man and keep ecosystemic relations with mankind. At the same time, the hall displays value of insects as sustainable future alternative resources, and world situation and vision of edible insect industry and insect-driven eco-friendly agriculture, as well as future technologies that leverage capabilities of super insects, such as biotechnology, green technology and robot technology.
In other halls, they arouse interest in insects, showcase performance and technologies related with insect industry, provide information on inherent features of insects, and publicize that creative agriculture is a vital industry and future growth engine through symposiums and workshops.
Among programs and events, particularly noteworthy ones are the first and premium insect food contest, insect food cooking and talkshow participated in by prominent chefs from Korea, Japan and Bulgaria, and international symposium on insect bioindustry.
As the venue of the Expo, Yecheon has a number of tourist attractions, including the Yongmun-sa, a Buddhist temple with history of over 1,100 years, a 600-year old pine tree named Seoksongnyeong, and Geumdangsil Traditional Village.
The Yongmun-sa Temple has several national treasures including the Daejangjeon, the oldest wooden building in Korea, and Mokbul Jwasang, a wooden Buddhist statue.
The old pine tree, Seoksongnyeong, is unique in that it pays tax to the municipal government as the owner of a large area of land. The Geumdangsil Traditional Village is preserving many traditional Korean houses and shrines of ancient aristocrats including a 99-roomed house of Lee Yuin, a high-level government official in the Joseon Dynasty. Most of these ancient buildings are designated as cultural assets. Another cultural asset in the Village is a dolmen of the Bronze Age.
Excerpts from the speech of Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn:
All the citizens of the Republic of Korea, the citizens of Yecheon County and the distinguished guests from with Korea and abroad present at this meeting, I express my warmest congratulations on the opening of the Yecheon World Insect Expo and my special thanks go to the people of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province and the Yecheon County who have all made unreserved efforts to make this Expo a great success.
Minutes ago, I toured the Main Theme Hall of Insects, the Bio-Industry Hall and various other Expo sites and there I became fully convinced of the good prospect of the future of the insect industry. I am sure that the Yeocheon Insect Expo will certainly expedite the early development of the insect industry in the Republic of Korea.
The insect industry is a bio industry. It is a future-oriented industry with very strong growth potential. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization termed insects ‘Little Domestic Animals’ and paid attention to the unlimited potential of growth of the industry.
Insects used to remain in the domain of studies and pets. However, the range of use of them is expanding very widely into various other areas, including food, feed, fertilizers and medicinal raw materials.
I am sure that they will soon become a new source of energy and vitality of our rural community.
The scale of insect industry has been growing by leaps and bounds every year and by the year 2020 the total amount of the industry is expected to reach 38 trillion won (US$34.26 billion). I would say that Korea should try to actively respond to these trends and develop them into a future growth industry.
The Korean government is redoubling its efforts to properly implement its ‘Second General Development Plan for the Insect Industry’ and has doubled the range of its endeavor to systematically support the production, distribution and export of the insect products.
Based on this plan, the government will, first of all, activate the network among the different main players of the insect industry.
The government will inspect the distribution system of the insect industry and organize a consultative body for the development of the industry. And by the end of this year, the government will strengthen the role of the insect resources industrialization centers in all different districts of the country.
Secondly, the government will try to concentrate its effort to support the areas which contribute to the increase of income of the farming community and expansion of export. The government will also actively support the activities of job creation and product development through the use of insects in cooperation and coordination with the regional creative economic centers as well as exploring their markets at home and abroad.
Thirdly, the government will increase its investment in research and development on a medium- and long-range development plan for creation of the base of growth of the insect industry. In order to implement these plans, the government will also try to establish an ‘Insect Egg Supply Center’ in order to satisfy the demand for securing and supplying excellent ‘seed’ inspects.
The Yecheon County and the other northern region of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province are noted for the well-preserved natural beauty and traditional cultural heritage. Most recently the provincial government of the Gyeongsangbuk-do moved its capital city into this region and this has provided the northern region of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Province with an opportunity to make another big jump forward.
The Insect Expo, too, is expected to induce many tourists to visit the region through many different things to see and experience. I expect that the northern region of the Gyengsangbuk-do Province will further develop into a more prosperous and affluent region based on the precious cultural legacies, bio industry, inspect and other biological technology industries.
Excerpts from the remarks by Mayor Lee Hyun-joon of the Yecheon County:
It is a warm day and I am grateful that your Excellencies and Madams have taken the trouble of taking the trip all the way from Seoul down to our County in spite of the very warm weather.
At this time, I would like to extend my warmest welcome and heart-felt gratitude to Her Excellency Ambassador Grecia Pichardo of the Dominican Republic and the Excellencies and other members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps visiting us here today.
In 2012, we also hosted a large-scale Insect Expo, and it has grown into a very large-scale expo which renowned insect experts around the world have recognized.
This is the third year we have been hosting the World Insect Expo and this time we are graced with the attendance of the Prime Minister, who has come all the way from Seoul to grace us with his presence. We are looking forward to further promotion and development of the insect industry in Korea and around the world.
We have done our best, but I would say that no one is perfect in preparing an event like this one, and I would like to solicit your generous understanding even if Your Excellencies and Madams should find room for improvement.
Excerpts from the congratulatory speech of Ambassador Grecia Pichardo of the Dominican Republic:
Honorable Mayor Lee Hyun-joon of Yecheon County, Esteemed Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of the Korea post, Dear friends and colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps,
It’s a great pleasure to be participating in this tour of the “2016 Yecheon World Insect Expo” and Yecheon County today with the goal of showcasing the vast variety of insects and their positive impact on our ecosystem and future research.
Opportunities to visit events like this allow us diplomats and members of the international community a meaningful opportunity to learn more about Korean culture and draw comparisons with their own--ultimately bridging the gaps between the different cultures.
I would like to express my hope for continued strengthening of the cooperation ties between the Korea and the Dominican Republic, and also with the countries present here today.
On behalf of the Group of Diplomatic Corps present here today, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Gyeongsang-buk Province, Yechoen County, The Korea Post and the Organizing Committee for having cordially invited us to take part in this event. We hope for this exposition’s continued success.
Details of the Plaque of Commendation to Mayor Lee by the Dean of the Visiting Members of Diplomatic Corps:
Honorable Mayor Lee Hyun-joon
The Mayor of the Yecheon City
I present this Plaque of Appreciation to Honorable Mayor Lee Hyun-joon of the Yecheon City on behalf of the visiting members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps for his kind invitation of us to the 2016 Yecheon World Insect Expo on July 30, 2016. We trust that the Expo will greatly contribute to our understanding of the Korean culture as well as promotion of friendship and cooperation between Korea and our countries.
July 30, 2016
H.E. Ambassador Grecia Pichardo
Ambassador of Dominican Republic
Dean of the Visiting Members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps
Details of the Plaque of Commendation to the Dean of the visiting members of the Diplomatic to Yeocheon:
This Plaque of Commendation is presented to the esteemed diplomat above mentioned by the undersigned in commendation of the unreserved effort made by the diplomat for the promotion of understanding, cooperation and friendship between the Republic of Korea and the country represented by the diplomat through participation in the World Insect Expo Yecheon 2016 Korea.
Jointly presented by:
Mr. Lee Hyun-joon, Mayor of the Yecheon County, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, and Mr. Lee Kyung-sik, Publisher-Chairman, The Korea Post Media Group
Partial list of participants from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps:
Ambassasdors Grecia Pichardo of Domincan Republic, Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain, Guadalupe Palomeque De Taboada of Bolivia, Irineo Ra?l Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay, Zulfiqur Rahman of Bangladesh, Gerhard Sabathil of the EU, Peteris Vaivars of Latvia, Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar and Dimanche Long of Cambodia, Kiran Shakya of Nepal (Charge d’Affaires) and Ms. Jana Chaloupkov? (CDA). Other senior diplomats include Deputy Heads of Mission George Icaza of Ecuador and Panko Panov of Bulgaria; Minister Nasir Aminu of Nigeria; Counsllors Diomedes Carles of Panama and Vongvilay Thiphalangsy of Laos; First Secretaries Mrs. Grazyna Bosak-Gagacka of Poland and Bielov Bohdan of Ukraine; and Second Secretary Phavanh Siliphong of Laos. There also were German ARD TV Seoul Bureau Chief Ahn Birn-jak and his reporter.
Attendants from The Korea Post Media Group:
Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik, Vice Chairperson Yoon Young-no, Coordinator Ms. Kim Jung-mi and Reporters Won A-reum (Ms.), Aron Bae and Choi Yun-seok.