DA to study South Korean model in financing farmers
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he intends to adopt the South Korean model as the Department of Agriculture (DA) starts efforts to end businessmen’s exploitation of poor farmers in the country.
“First would be to copy the Nonghyup model which initiated the federation of all farmers and fisher folks cooperatives and associations into one umbrella organization,” Piñol said.
“This is quite a difficult task given the propensity of Filipinos to form small groups and refuse to be drawn into a bigger group where he loses power and voice,” he added.
In 1961, as the war-ravaged South Korea was building its agriculture and economy from the ashes of the Peninsular Conflict, the young democratic government led the organisation of farmers and fisher folks cooperatives into a group called Nonghyup or the National Agriculture Cooperatives Federation.
Today, 56 years later, Nonghyup has over 3,300 member cooperatives and virtually controls all aspects of South Korean agriculture, from production to marketing, from financing to banking, from logistics to insurance with a total net worth of $270-billion or P13.5-trillion.
Nonghyup’s operations include a financial holding company which offers diverse financial services such as deposits, loans credit cards, insurance, foreign exchange, and securities and a marketing holding company which handles the marketing and supply of agricultural and livestock products through advanced expertise and efficient product distribution.
Piñol said South Korean Farmers Cooperatives Federation has become so powerful that they could dictate government policies on agriculture and even tilt the political balance in the country.
“This is so unlike the situation of the Filipino farmers and fisher folks in a country whose lives and income earning capacity are determined by traders and middlemen,” Piñol said.
Piñol said that moving forward and for whatever it takes, he intends to liberate the Filipino agricultural producer from the clutches of the middlemen and traders.