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Philippines, South Korea seek stronger agricultural partnership

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Philippines, South Korea seek stronger agricultural partnership
DA Secretary William Dar met with Kyu Seong Lee, the newly appointed director of the Korea Program on International Agriculture Center in the Philippines in a courtesy call on Thursday.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and South Korea are eyeing to strengthen their agricultural collaboration in a bid to boost vegetable and garlic production in the country, according to the Department of Agriculture.

DA Secretary William Dar met with Kyu Seong Lee, the newly appointed director of the Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) Center in the Philippines in a courtesy call on Thursday.

“The Department of Agriculture, especially the Bureau of Plant Industry-Los Baños, would like to extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to the KOPIA Center – Philippines for your strong partnership and commitment in the implementation of various technical cooperation projects toward food security and increased productivity and income of Filipino farmers,” Dar said.

KOPIA was established through the Rural Development Administration (RDA), the national agricultural research institution under the Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA).

The program aims to overcome low productivity and insufficient income of local farmers in partner countries by providing customized agri-technology developed jointly by RDA experts and those in partner countries. KOPIA has established centers in 15 countries including the Philippines.

KOPIA and the DA have been collaborating since 2011, particularly on projects aimed to increase research and development on rice and other crops. The programs also train and educate researchers, extension officers and farmers, dispatch Korean experts and scientists at the host institution, and promote the exchange of research and materials and technical information.

KOPIA and DA-BPI-Los Baños are currently working on two major projects: the development of pilot village projects through the establishment of protective cultivation and postharvest management of lowland vegetables in the Philippines, and the mass production of three National Seed Industry Council (NSIC)-registered garlic varieties adaptive to selected areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Calabarzon and Bicol Region, with potential in bulbs/bulbils production.

Under the first initiative, DA-BPI-Los Baños, in collaboration with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), will take the lead in the implementation of the $1.2-million project, which seeks to increase the yield and income of vegetable farmers in the three pilot provinces particularly in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija; Lucban, Quezon, and Siniloan, Laguna.

The DA said the three-year project will include the innovative production and post-harvest management of lowland vegetables and other developed vegetable cultivation technologies, use of bio-control agents for pest control, and good agricultural practice or GAP certification.

“We are anticipating the fruits of the greenhouse established in Quezon and Laguna. We are optimistic that this will give a significant impact on the vegetable production in the identified communities and eventually in the region,” Dar said.

Through the project, KOPIA will partner with more than 350 farmers from the three pilot villages and establish 10 greenhouses per village.

Meanwhile, under the second initiative, KOPIA and DA-BPI aim to increase the utilization of healthy planting materials using bulbils and bulbs in garlic production for identified farmer-cooperators in the CAR, CALABARZON and the Bicol region.

In addition, the two agencies will also conduct technology demonstrations, farmers’ field day, and distribute Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials to showcase the garlic production technologies for enhancement of adoption.

During the meeting, Dar also expressed the intention to continue further agricultural and trade cooperation with the Korean government. He said he hopes to open more market access in Korea for Filipino farmers.

“Through your leadership, we are confident that we will have more collaborative projects that will help us attain our goal of increasing agricultural output and productivity and raise living standards in our rural communities,” Dar said.

Apart from Korea, the Philippines is also seeking a partnership with Belgium as Dar met with Belgian Ambassador Michael Parys in a separate courtesy call to discuss possible agricultural trade and cooperation between the two countries.

The DA said the meeting aims to further enhance the partnership between the two countries particularly on cacao production and livestock development especially on the improvement of local cattle stocks through cross-breeding technology.

Dar proposed for a joint-action to enhance market linkage of farmers to producers to help farmers market their produce during lean and rainy season.

He also expressed his intentions to establish cold storage facilities, which can store farmers’ produce for a longer period of time while awaiting higher market value.

Moreover, the Agriculture Secretary also discussed market access concerns for coconut and coconut oil, abaca, processed shrimps, and other aquaculture products including feed formulation.

Parys expressed intentions to continue the partnership on solar power farms, and accreditation of Belgian fruits such as apple and pear.

In response, Dar informed the Parys that before the pandemic, experts from the BPI were preparing to go to Belgium to validate the request.

For the solar power farms, Dar suggested that the project may be piloted in the different regions of the country.

WILLIAM DAR

Philstar
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