Philippines, South Korea fortify agriculture and fisheries cooperation

Key officials from the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) and South Korea’s Rural Development Administration (RDA) and Kyungpook National University (KNU) discuss possible technical cooperation to strengthen the agriculture and fisheries sector between the two countries during an official visit in the Republic of Korea on 21-24 June 2022. 

DA-BAR director Dr. Junel B. Soriano and DA-Agricultural Training Institute director Dr. Rosanna S. Mula, together with Philippine Agriculture Attache Maria Alilia G. Maghirang, represented the Philippine government during the four-day visit. 

In a lecture attended by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) scholars in KNU, DA officials shared the current thrusts and priorities of the Philippine agriculture department, especially the Agriculture and Fisheries Research for Development and Extension (RDE). 

Directors Soriano and Mula also met with representatives of Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) and Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) of the RDA to discuss ways to increase engagements and strengthen agricultural RDE collaborations through information sharing and capacity building.

They had discussions with RDA-International Technology Cooperation Center (ITCC) director Kim Hwang Yong, KOPIA director Chang An Cheol, KOPIA Asia and CIS team head Yang Chang Yeol, and AFACI Secretariat deputy director Kim Woojae. 

The two directors also visited the farmers of the smart farm innovation center at the Korea Agency of Education, Promotion, and Information Service (EPIS) in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 

Director Soriano discussed before the young farmers the R4DE programs on capacity building of the bureau. Director Mula discussed possible areas of collaboration in food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. 

South Korea has been a reliable partner of the Philippines, most especially in developing and modernizing the agriculture and fisheries sector in the country, from supporting various agriculture and fisheries programs and projects to forging a five-year Philippines-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which gives duty-free market access to several farm products such as banana, canned pineapples, okra, papaya, glass eels, refined coconut oil, cashew nuts, and fruit juices. 

Inspired by the agriculture and fisheries sector of South Korea, director Soriano bared his hopes that the country may be able to replicate it. 

“You can really see how they prioritize their [South Korea] agri-fisheries sector there. If we can replicate the techniques and technologies and share that knowledge to our farmers, then there is a high chance for our farmers and fishers to achieve the quality of life they deserve,” said Soriano. (### Kathleen Mae B. Bulquerin)