A Science and Technology Policy Forum on Linking Poverty Reduction and Agricultural Development was sponsored by the Agricultural Sciences Division (ASD) of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), held at The Manila Hotel last February 17, 2016. The discussion focused on two models of agricultural development: the Saemaul Undong (SU) Movement and the Nakar Initiative.
The SU Movement successfully solved the endemic rural poverty in Korea during the early 1970s. The Korean government facilitated three policy stages to achieve its desired agricultural development. In a span of less than adecade, Korea increased its rice yields and ultimately raised the household income through: (1) community participation; (2) civic capacities; and (3) resource availability. SU Movement made use of a “creative destruction” approach, by which Korea promoted ideological reform and non-discriminatory leadership to come up with new norms more appropriate for the development age. Nakar Initiative, also known as Nakar Initiative-Experimental Living Community of Tomorrow (ELCOT), is an on-going agricultural assistance for the local farmers of General Nakar, Quezon.
It is currently employing economic strategies to enable the farmers to make more than what they used to earn. The Initiative focuses not only on income generation but also on developing new approaches to improve the local farming system. These include “agents of change” who are the people who know about policies, planning, and funding strategies. Issues concerning the rural and urban income disparity, land reform and ownership, poor credit policies in the country, and skepticism among the local farmers were discussed. Participants were in agreement that the Philippines could make use of an approach inspired by the two models — effective administration, ideological reform, and minimal role of the state (empowered communities).
The forum was organized by ASD Chair Academician (Acd.) Eufemio T. Rasco, Jr., and moderated by Acd. Ruben L. Villareal. The resource persons were Dr. Djun Kil Kim, Professorial Research Chair for the Samsung Korean Studies Program of the University of Asia and the Pacific, and Atty. Florencio B. Orendain, head of the Nakar Initiative. Assistant Professor Geny Lapiña from the College of Economics and Management, University of the Philippines Los Baños served as the discussant. Professor Ma. Eden Piadoza from the same institution synthesized and provided the highlights of the forum.
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