The Korean Foundation for World Aid (KFWA) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1997 in the Republic of Korea to help Koreans who live around the globe improve each other’s lives through peaceful cooperation. KFWA is in special consultative statue with the UN ECOSOC and work to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger around the world corresponding to MDGs, especially in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Introduction to the article
When it comes to the theme for the 2007 AMR, “Strengthening efforts for the eradication of poverty and hunger, through global partnerships for development”, the KFWA has a beautiful success story. The story involved the transfer of modern agricultural technology, specifically, ‘molding and direct-sowing technology’ from the ROK to the DPRK. In this project, organizations and individuals from the ROK, the DPRK and the Philippines were involved. In the article, we will explain how the initiative took place, why it is innovative, how the partnership was formed, what impacts the project has created, and what the future plans are.
Background to the initiative
Although it has already been 10 years since the famine that lead to the DPRK’s chronic deficiency of food surfaced as an international issue, the problem still remains and is unlikely to be solved soon. It did not seem to be a correct solution to support indefinite massive food aid to the DPRK. Instead, one plausible solution to this problem should include the transfer of modern agricultural technology. In this way, the agricultural productivity as well as the motivation of the recipients of food aid for work was thought to increase.
How the Initiative took place
The KFWA has expanded its area of aid to agriculture since 2002 when it started its cooperation with the Council of Reconciliation and Cooperation, which is a governmental organization in the DPRK. Before 2002, it was exclusively a provision of power tillers and sprinklers of agricultural chemicals.
In the beginning of 2005, the DPRK announced that agriculture was the main industry of the nation. Following the announcement, the KFWA was asked to with thin vinyl for rice seedling plot. What the KFWA suggested to the DPRK was the transfer of moldings and direct-sowing technology. In December 2005, the KFWA and the CRC agreed on the initiative to transfer the technology. Since the project required the application of essential agricultural technical expertise such as soil, weather, and watering systems, and the knowledge of agricultural materials and methods, the KFWA and the CRC decided to demonstrate them on a collective farm in the DPRK. The farm measured 800ha. In March of 2006, barley was sown in 103ha of land followed by sowing rice in 800ha of land. A successful harvest was realized in September of 2006.
Why it was innovative
Firstly, the initiative was innovative because the molding and direct-sowing technology saved total costs and labor costs since it does not grow and transplant rice seedlings. However, it produces as much as when growing and transplanting rice seedlings. When it comes to cost savings, there is a 30% reduction in total costs. It costs US$260 for 10a on average, but it costs US$180 when molding and direct-sowing seeder is used. When it comes to labor savings, there was a 96% reduction in total labor costs. 800 people were needed for one month to transplant rice seedlings in 800ha of land. But, using the technologies it only requires a maximum of 50 people with 7 seeders.
Second, the initiative is innovative since directly sowed rice is stronger that it stands firmly in natural disaster.
Third, the initiative is innovative because newly developed seeder named Bokto Seeder can do several things at one time. The picture below shows how Bokto Seeder works.
In this project, 3 organizations, 3 individuals from the ROK, 2 organizations, 3 individuals from the DPRK, and 1 organization from the Philippines were involved.
Impacts the initiative has created
The amount of the harvest was 5,600 tons of rice in 800 ha. Out of 5,600 tons, the Yak Jeon collective farm gave 5 tons back to the KFWA to express their gratitude. Based on the fact that the DPRK rarely shows their thanks, the initiative has improved the level of relationship between the ROK and the DPRK. The Initiative was expanded in 2007 and the KFWA is applying the new technology onto 1200ha of land and is cooperating with the CRC.
The initiative was broadcast in a documentary named ‘In Depth 60 Minutes’ by KBS (Korean Broadcasting System), which is a public service broadcaster in Korea. Part of the program is translated and posted up on http://www.hankorea.or.kr/data/data7.asp. BBC is interested in broadcasting the initiative as well.
The success of the initiative made the KFWA plan two goals. Firstly, it should not only grow rice in the DPRK to feed people, but should also grow cash crops to earn money. Secondly, it should apply the molding and direct sowing technology to Africa, especially in Sudan, in which the KFWA has an agricultural training center.
Korean Foundation for World Aid
Website : http://www.hankorea.or.kr/
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Telephone : 82-2-3471-9814
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