Monday, November 17, 2014

South Korean agency helps farmers earn millions

The Korea Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) through the Rural Development Administration is helping farmers earn millions by partnering with farmers’ cooperatives.

“This is our way of helping the cooperatives and its members become millionaires,” Dr. Norvie Manigbas, project leader said.

The Sinibaan Farmers Association in Dingle, Iloilo and the Bohol Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative in Pilar, Bohol received registered seeds (RS) during the town’s recent Farmers’ Field Day.

“After farmer-recipients planted the seeds and harvested, they are expected to return the same amount of seeds to their respective cooperatives in the form of money,” Dr. Manigbas said.

In Iloilo, farmers are expected to produce 300 sacks (48kg/sack) of high quality seeds.  From this start up, Manigbas said that the cooperative will have at least P 1.5M at the end of the three-year KOPIA project in the area.

“Assuming that a cavan is equivalent to P1,000, the cooperative will receive P300,000 from the farmer members after harvest. This is the seed money that will go to the cooperative for their use,” Dr. Manigbas explained.

The distributed RS in Iloilo came from a two-hectare field in Hamungaya, Jaro, Iloilo where foundation seeds were grown, with the aid of the DA-Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-WESVIARC).

In Bohol, a five-hectare field in Ubay was used to produce seeds to farmer members of the cooperative in partnership with the Bohol Provincial Agriculture Office and Office of the Provincial Governor.

“The money may be loaned by the cooperative’s farmer-members to buy their farm inputs. The cooperative can purchase big machines for the farmers to use modern technologies,” Dr. Manigbas added.

Aside from RS, the cooperatives also received walk-type transplanters and soil analyzers.

Members of these cooperatives are also trained to use new technologies on rice farming developed by PhilRice.

“We chose to partner with established cooperatives because they are efficient in managing the dissemination of seeds to their members and members have commitments and responsibilities to their cooperative,” Dr. Manigbas said.

He further said that the project works by partnering with established cooperatives through the New Community Movement or Rural Transformation principles which are diligence, self-help, and cooperation.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cho Yang-Hee, KOPIA secretary-general, explained that the project will help support PhilRice’s Rural Transformation Movement.

“We hope that this project will bring rural transformation in the Philippines. I also hope that this project will benchmark the new village movement of Korea as we call the Saemaul Undong Movement. Korean government, especially the KOPIA, will be your strong partner in developing and implementing joint projects on agricultural technology.”

Dr. Jeong Taek Lee, KOPIA Center director in the Philippines, said the project intends to help farmers in the Philippines to achieve a better life in partnership with PhilRice.

KOPIA Center is stationed at PhilRice Central Experiment Station in Nueva Ecija. (PhilRice)

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