A delegation of 23 officials from South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs visited Wiltshire agri-business support projects today (October 22).

The group was hosted by Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) and Wiltshire College.

The purpose of the visit was to learn how western countries are developing policies for rural economic development, including initiatives that can be delivered at the local level.

Wiltshire was the only place in the UK the delegation visited, alongside two other locations in rural France.

During the visit, the group heard presentations by SWLEP and Wiltshire Council about the district’s strong rural economic development programme working closely with Defra.

Wiltshire College also delivered addressed the delegation with a presentation about their Agriculture, Animal, Land-based and Life Sciences courses.

Investment and export opportunities

Speaking after the visit, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s head of investment and export Phil Clement said: “We are delighted to have been asked by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to host this delegation visit.

“Choosing Wiltshire as their location of choice in the UK recognises the strong world-leading rural economy in our area.

Rural businesses make a vital contribution to the economy of Swindon and Wiltshire generating around 44% of annual economic output, more than £7 billion each year and there’s potential for that to grow.

“We are working with a range of partners across the private, public and academic sectors to help shape the Swindon and Wiltshire ‘offer’ to prospective inward investors and are also working with local businesses to support their growth aspirations.

“We look forward to exploring potential opportunities for inward investment and export that might arise from this visit.”