To inspire the Filipinos on their campaign for rural transformation, the Korea Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) Center based at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) emphasized the values that have helped Korea become one of the world’s richest countries. KOPIA-PhilRice

Dr.Jeong Taek Lee, KOPIA director, said in a recent seminar that self-help, diligence, and cooperation, led to the success of Saemaul Undong, a rural transformation movement spearheaded by President Park Jeong Hee, which reduced the poverty from 34 to 6 percent of the population.

Under the movement, participating villages were given free raw materials to build community structures such as houses and infrastructures such as roads, bridges, buildings, and irrigation systems. Following Saemaul Undong, which was said to be the basis of the Korean economy’s resurgence in the 1970s, KOPIA promotes the strategy to help the Philippines achieve rice self-sufficiency.

In the Philippines, KOPIA helps Filipino farmers increase their income by giving more than 600 bags of good seeds to farmer cooperatives in Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, and Bohol. Among the sites, Nueva Ecija has the highest yield of 10t/ha.

Lee said that by practicing the values, “there is no doubt that the Philippines can also transform its rural communities as long as the Filipinos embrace the same spirit of self-help, diligence, and cooperation.”

Meanwhile, Ronan Zagado, campaign leader of PhilRice’s Rural Transformation Movement said that rural transformation can also be achieved through proper social mobilization.

“Currently, PhilRice has conducted an intensive campaign to enable positive and relevant change not only in farmers’ but also in researchers’ and extension workers’ perceptions, attitudes, practices, and life chances. Rice-based agriculture is the driver of inclusive and sustainable growth in rural and farming areas,” Zagado said.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute