Hyderabad: Hundreds of people including engineering and MBA graduates from Kerala applied for an onion farming job in South Korea. The required qualification for the job was to pass class 10 with a maximum age limit of 40 years. A South Korean agency entrusted overseas development and employment promotion consultant (ODEPC) to conduct a recruitment seminar with one hundred vacancies for an onion farming job, but 800 applicants qued the Ernakulam Town Hall to attend a recruitment seminar.
The New Indian Express reported, a 32-year-old MBA graduate Kiran KS, lost his job during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, he has been desperately looking for a means to survive. He said he has no prior experience in agriculture but right now I’m for a job with a decent salary.
The seminar organized to explain the work atmosphere, climate, living conditions and food style in South Korea was held in two sessions — 300 people in the first batch and 500 in the second batch.
On October 27, a similar orientation was held in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala too, and around 600 candidates attended the orientation program. The recruitment is done under the South Korean government-aided onion farming project. The ODEPC website crashed because of the traffic as it received over 4,000 applications.
The onion farms are located in the Sinan and Muan islands in the southern part of South Korea. The salary promised is $1,500 monthly (around Rs 1,12,500 going by today’s exchange rate). Those selected have to work 28 days a month from 8 am to 5 pm (i.e. 9 hours ) daily.
According to TNIM, Anoop K, managing director of ODEPC said the weather sometimes turns extreme. Temperature does drop to minus 20 degrees Celsius. South Korean food is very different from Kerala. Pork is the staple food there. Employers find it hard to manage the workers’ accommodation. COVID-19 vaccination will be a hurdle for many applicants. The agency has stated that people who have taken two doses of WHO-approved vaccine will be selected for the onion farming job.