Commemorating the 40th anniversary of its establishment, the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI, President Kim Changgil) held the 2nd Global ODA Forum on “Sustainable Agricultural Development in International Setting: Cooperative’s Role and Prospect” with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo, specially invited in the 40th year of KREI’s founding, emphasized the importance of cooperatives in sustainable agricultural and rural development and presented their desirable direction in the keynote speech.
In session 1, Dr. Hwang Euisik of KREI made a presentation on the sustainable agricultural/rural development strategy utilizing cooperatives and IFAD Senior Technical Advisor Norman Messer on pro-poor agricultural value chain development through cooperatives. Particularly, division director Junko Sazaki at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization mentioned the need to consider small farmers and family farms as targets of social policy in policies for agricultural structural improvement, and stressed the importance of fostering producers’ and consumers’ organizations in the process, including cooperatives.
In session 2, MAFRA examined changes in Korea’s agricultural cooperative policies implemented in the agricultural and rural sector through the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF). Team leader Choi Heewon at the NH Future Management Research Institute introduced NACF’s history, characteristics, success, and failure, and discussed considerations in implementing policies regarding cooperatives in developing countries’ agricultural and rural sector. KREI Senior Economist Park Seongjae presented necessary principles in organizing a cooperative, its proper size, necessary strategies, external support methods in appropriate forms such as government policy, etc. for the development of cooperatives in developing countries by synthesizing cases of major countries’ operation of cooperatives.
In session 3, Doley Tshering, regional technical adviser for Asia and the Pacific, the UN Development Programme, discussed the importance of creating the legal and institutional environment for successful operation of cooperatives, and the necessity of financial and technical support including business operation capacity. Director of Rwanda/South Sudan Office Choi Eunyoung at Good Neighbors introduced a case that the organization supported strengthening the capacity of existing cooperatives in rural Rwanda. Deputy Director General Khamouan Khamphoukeo at the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry introduced the current status of agricultural and rural cooperatives in Laos, and expectations for the cooperative-related project currently implemented jointly with the Korean government.
Lastly, in the open discussion session with KREI Senior Economist Park Seongjae as chair, participants discussed the future roles of the major institutions that took part in this forum, and their organic cooperation and development for achieving the goal of developing countries’ agricultural and rural development and mutual benefit through cooperatives.