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Korean Agriculture – Sowing the Seeds of Hope in Impoverished Land
1. Saemaeul Movement and Korean agriculture drawing global spotlight
The Saemaeul Movement is a pan-national movement that was launched in the 1970s, when Korea was struggling financially, to improve people’s standard of living and increase their incomes by promoting regional development. Its slogan was “Hard work, “self-help and cooperation,” white its fundamental spirit was based on collaboration and solidarity of the entire communities. Nowadays the movement has drawn attention as a growth model for developing and emerging countries. So far 32 villages in 13 countries are trying to adopt the movement, with more than a thousand people from 39 countries visiting Korea to learn about the Saemaeul Movement each year. In other words, the popularity of Korean agriculture is soaring around the world.
2. Change in Balingkaking Village, Philippines created by Saemaeul Movement
Balingkaking Village is a remote village in San Felipe, which takes six hours to reach by car. In 1991 the village was completely destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption that was the second largest in the 20th century. Its residents were thrown into poverty in a matter of seconds. One year ago the village adopted Korea’s Saemaeul Movement in a bid to fight poverty. The villagers have set up farming cooperatives to raise pigs and produce textiles. They also began to produce their own organic fertilizer to restore farming in their devastated farmland. Korean volunteers provide them with all-out support. This program takes a look at the changes that have occurred in the village after adopting the Saemaeul Movement, what the villagers think about it and how they want to change their village in the future.
3. Agricultural collaboration between Korea and Vietnam
More than 70 percent of Vietnam’s population is engaged in farming. Korean farming techniques are gaining popularity in Vietnam recently. The Korea-Vietnam Food Festival, which was launched in 2008, introduces Korean food products and ingredients, and draws scores of visitors each year. Korean kimchi is especially popular among Vietnamese consumers thanks to the popularity of Korean culture. Vietnamese agricultural researchers are making endeavors to cultivate Korean vegetables in Vietnam using Korean seeds in cooperation with Korean researchers. The Rural Development Administration of Korea in 2009 launched the Korea Project on International Agriculture, or KOPIA, in a bid to transfer Korea’s farming technologies to other countries. But rather than just transferring agricultural technologies to Vietnam, Korean researchers strive to find similarities between the two nations through trial and error by learning about Vietnam’s culture and environment. They are also collaborating in the development of bio-fuel in order to secure energy sources to prepare for the future. What kind of hope have the two countries discovered in each other and how are they collaborating to help each other? Will their agricultural sectors create a new hope together?