Korea is recognized as one of the most advanced countries in terms of informatization. The development of informatization has impacted all sectors of Korean society, including agriculture, and agricultural informatization has played an important role in bridging of the digital gap between rural and urban areas. The issue of agricultural/rural informatization development has conventionally been examined under the rubric of the digital divide, which generally encompasses two seemingly distinct categories-access (first order) and inequalities in the ability to use digital technology (second order). Further, consumers' recent concerns over food safety have helped to put agricultural informatization back on the national agenda. This study discusses the challenges inherent in agricultural informatization by analyzing both the first-order and second-order effects of the digital divide at the regional level and then addresses the role of the government in narrowing the regional digital divide. The results indicate that Korea has achieved success in terms of access (first-order) but that the second-order effects of this achievement remain in an intermediate stage, particularly in terms of agricultural informatization, thereby creating new challenges for policymakers. The results offer a better understanding of the type and amount of effort required to raise the level of agricultural informatization to bridge the digital divide and provide researchers with some guidelines for examining the digital divide and determining how it influences farmers, villagers, managers, and economies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the research fund of Hanyang University (HY-2011-N). All material about MIFAFF’s policies presented in this article was supported by the Informatization Support Team of MIFAFF. An earlier version of this manuscript was presented in ICEB (International Conference on e-business) 2009.
- agricultural informatization
- digital divide
- government role
- Korea (Rep.)