December 3, 2019
South Korean rural development body to better meet consumer demand through agriculture programmes for developing nations
South Korea's Rural Development Administration (RDA) will seek "qualitative" growth of its agricultural R&D support programme for developing countries, so it can better cater to recipients' demand for the next 10 years, the state-run institute said.
The RDA made the pledge during a press conference marking the 10th anniversary of Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA), a series of projects in which the institute sets up agricultural centers in recipient countries and provides support for them to develop their own agricultural technologies.
"During the past 10 years, we believe KOPIA has grown mature from a quantitative perspective," said Lee Ji-weon, director general for Technology Cooperation Bureau of RDA. "For the next 10 years, KOPIA will keep the number of recipient countries below 24 and increase spending for each nation, so that we can provide more tailored technology aids."
Starting from the first KOPIA center in Vietnam, which was opened in August 2009, the RDA has set up centers in 24 countries over the past decade and is currently running in 20 nations ― seven in Africa, eight in Asia and five in Central and South America.
In the past decade, the centers developed agricultural technologies suitable to the local climate and environment, resulting in an average 30% increase in productivity, the RDA said.
One of the model cases is a chicken farm project in Kenya. From 2016 to 2018, an RDA center there established advanced chicken farms in four villages, and improved the survival rate of chicks to 76% from 43% during the cited period. This resulted in the income of participating farms to grow by 9.2 times.
In Paraguay, the programme provided stronger sesame cultivar and growing know-how to three model villages, and the villages' yield grew 38% higher.
According to a study by the Catholic University of Korea, $112.9 million of economic value was created in recipient countries from 2009 to last year, which is 1.7 times higher than the total cost of the project. The programme also increased South Korea's agricultural exports by $8 million.
Lee added that the RDA plans to expand the official development assistance programme to incorporate private companies, so they can have the recipient countries as a future market.
"Based on its support for agricultural technology during the past decade, the RDA will strive to improve KOPIA projects, so they can consolidate their current reputation as a flagship programme in agri-tech assistance," Lee said.
"And we will make greater contributions into the global fight to end famine and poverty, as well as providing an engine for growth in developing countries."
- The Korea Times