Nov. 23

Special Lecture

Special Lecture #3. 

GMPA Lecture on the History of Korea Agriculture and International Cooperation

Nita Chaprithy (2023 GMPA)


  On November 23rd, 2023, a stimulating lecture titled "History of Korea Agriculture and International Cooperation" was delivered to Global Master of Public Administration (GMPA) students. Mr. Byung Ho Lee, CEO of the Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC), was the keynote speaker. At the same time, Professor Kilkon Ko, Director of the GMPA, presided over the event and moderated the discussion.

  The event explored several pivotal facets of the History of Korea Agriculture and International Cooperation in Room 203 of Building 57 at the Global School of Public Administration (GSPA). The lecture brought forth several points of discussion, including:

Introduction of Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC)

  Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC), a public entity under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, has played a pivotal role in implementing government policies and fostering the development of rural areas in Korea for over a century. KRC has a decentralized organizational structure with a central head office, nine regional headquarters, 93 district offices, and seven project offices. The corporation has undertaken a wide range of projects encompassing the four critical resources of rural areas: land, water, human resources, and spaces (villages). In the land sector, KRC implements various projects to establish and maintain farmlands and agricultural infrastructure, thereby bolstering food security in the face of impending climate crises and natural disasters. In the water sector, KRC focuses on water management, ensuring the sustainable supply of clean water, and enforcing irrigation facilities to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Recognizing the importance of human resources in the agricultural sector, KRC implements the farmlands bank system, attracting individuals to engage in farming by providing them with land.


  Additionally, KRC assists farmers in expanding their agricultural endeavors and enhancing their competitiveness by offering farmland information, financial support, and facilitating market opportunities. Furthermore, KRC provides farmland pensions to retired farmers. Finally, KRC is undertaking various projects to transform rural areas from mere production zones into vibrant hubs encompassing environmental conservation, ecological preservation, cultural heritage, recreational activities, and tourism.

History of Korea Agriculture Experiments

 Before Industrialization (1905-1959): KRC played a crucial role in rural Korea's transportation, infrastructure, and economic development.


  Industrialization (1960-1989): this period can be broadly summarized into four areas. KRC played a central role in implementing the Saemaul Undong, a community development movement that helped modernize rural Korea. The Saemaul Undong emphasized the importance of self-help, cooperation, and hard work, and it helped to mobilize rural Koreans to improve their communities. Moreover, KRC invested heavily in infrastructure development in rural Korea during Industrialization. This included the construction of roads, bridges, irrigation systems, and power grids. It promoted the adoption of new agriculture technologies, such as using fertilizers, pesticides, and machinery. KRC also helped to establish new agricultural cooperatives and improve the marketing of farm products. Lastly, KRC helped improve rural Koreans' living standards by providing access to education, healthcare, and other essential services, building new schools and hospitals in rural areas, and training rural teachers and doctors. 

  After Industrialization (1990-Present): during this period can be broadly summarized into three areas:

Korea Official Development Assistance (Korea ODA)

History As Aid Recipient:

History As Aid Donor:

Vision and Goals

  Envisioning a global leadership role in agricultural ODA (Official Development Assistance) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this strategic plan outlines a twofold objective: first, to contribute to global food security and enhance the nation's status by doubling the ODA budget by 2027 and adopting a strategic approach; and second, to implement a comprehensive strategy comprising the execution of strategic agricultural ODA projects to elevate the nation's profile, the expansion of ODA projects leveraging the strengths of Korean agriculture, the contribution to Global Food Security through international cooperation, and the promotion of private collaboration and capacity building.

Implementation Strategies

  To effectively implement this strategic plan, four key strategies have been identified:

Overview ODA in Agriculture Supported by MAFRA

  There are eight government agencies related to ODA: Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), Rural Development Administration (RDA), Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC), Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), Korea Seed & Variety Service (KSVS), Education Promotion and Information Service (EPIS), Korea Partnership for Innovation of Agriculture (KOPIA), and Project Management Consultant (PMC).

Public Private Partnership (PPP) in ODA

  Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are a form of collaboration between the public and private sectors that have gained traction in recent years to address complex development challenges. In the context of agricultural ODA, PPPs can play a valuable role in leveraging the resources and expertise of both sectors to promote sustainable agricultural development. 

  For instance, in case 1: Establishing Demonstration Model for Vegetables Productions (2011-2015), the project was implemented by a Korean government agency in collaboration with a private sector consortium. The project activities included establishing demonstration plots showcasing various vegetable production techniques, conducting training workshops for local farmers, and providing technical support to farmers adopting the new methods. 

  In case 2: Enhancing Rice Industry Capacity through Operating Agriculture Service Center in Phyapon Township, Ayayarwady Region in Myanma (2019-2023), the project is being implemented by a Korean government agency in collaboration with a private sector company. The project activities include providing training and extension services to rice farmers, conducting research on rice production and marketing, and facilitating access to inputs and credit for rice farmers. 

  In Case 3: Supporting Agricultural Center in Kratie, Cambodia (2020-2024). This PPP project aims to support the development of an agricultural center in Cambodia. The project is being implemented by a Korean government agency in collaboration with a private sector foundation. The project activities include constructing and equipping the agricultural center, providing training and extension services to farmers, and facilitating access to markets and information for farmers. The project is expected to contribute to increased agricultural productivity, improved market access, and enhanced incomes for farmers in Cambodia.

The Future of Korean Agriculture Experiments

  Korea will become a leading country in agricultural ODA projects, contributing to global food security through cooperation with international organizations, branding and scaling agricultural ODA, strategizing ODA projects in agriculture to raise the national profile, and promoting private collaboration and building capacity.

Personal insight

The Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC) has played a pivotal role in fostering agricultural development in Cambodia for an extended period, providing crucial technical assistance, financial support, and comprehensive training programs to Cambodian farmers and organizations. KRC's unwavering dedication has significantly enhanced agricultural productivity, bolstered incomes, and fortified food security in Cambodia.

Several notable projects and collaborations exemplify KRC's engagement in Cambodia:

KRC's concerted efforts have left an indelible mark on Cambodia's agricultural sector. The KRC's projects and collaborations have been instrumental in propelling agricultural productivity, augmenting incomes, and bolstering food security across Cambodia. KRC's unwavering commitment has also fostered a stronger relationship between South Korea and Cambodia.