By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

Seoul, 14 March 2018 - Mayor Rommel Arnado of Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte, paid a courtesy call on the Philippine Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez on 12 March 2018 at the Philippine Embassy in Seoul to discuss the modernization of the Philippine agricultural sector through enhanced collaboration with the Korean National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup) to propagate farm mechanization in rural communities in the PH.

PH Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez (6th from right), welcomes Mayor Rommel Arnado (5th from left) of Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte, former DA Undersecretary Dante Delima (4th from left), Mr. Philip Kim, President of FitCorea Trading Phils. Inc, and representatives of the DA, FitCorea and Julimon�?s Enterprises, during their courtesy call on 12 March 2018 at the Philippine Embassy in Seoul. Ambassador Hernandez is flanked on the right by Agriculture Attache Aleli Maghirang, Head of the Philippine Agriculture Office.
Ambassador Hernandez welcomed the keen interest of Mayor Rommel Arnado to look into Korea's technologically advanced agricultural machineries for possible adaptation in the Philippines to boost agricultural productivity, increase farmers' incomes, and spur economic growth in farming communities in the PH.

Ambassador Hernandez also underscored the importance of expanding agricultural cooperatives in the PH and developing them into a major driver of growth for the Philippine economy, citing the success of Nonghyup. Nonghyup transformed itself into a formidable pillar of the Korean economy through its wide network of agricultural cooperatives, excellent distribution and sales channels, and profitable banking and agricultural insurance operations.

Ambassador Hernandez also expressed hope that the forthcoming visit of a 180-member contingent, comprised of CEOs from KAMICO's member companies to Cebu and Bohol from 27 June to 01 July 2018, would lead to enhanced Philippine-Korea partnership in the mechanization of the Philippine agricultural sector.

Ambassador Hernandez further conveyed to Mayor Arnado that the Philippine Department of Agriculture is looking at the possibility of forging an agreement with KAMICO in strengthening agricultural cooperatives in the Philippines so that Nonhgyup's successful agricultural cooperative network could be replicated in the Philippines. Mayor Arnado, in response, affirmed their interest to contribute to the spread of farm mechanization in the Philippines by forging a strong and enduring collaborative partnership with KAMICO.

Mayor Arnado also expressed hope that his landmark program entitled "From Arms to Farms: Walking through the Paths of Peace" could also be replicated in other conflict areas in the Philippines as the program successfully transformed the lives of former Moro rebels in the municipality of Kauswagan by providing livelihood opportunities in agriculture.

For advocating a socio-economic approach in bringing about conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction in the municipality of Kauswagan, Mayor Arnado won international acclaim for his peacebuilding efforts by being awarded the Bogota Peace Prize by the global organization United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in Colombia in 2016. The UCLG is a network of over 175 associations of local and regional governments in 140 countries. Mayor Arnado's program also won the Gawad Galing Pook Award in 2014.

Mayor Arnado also cited the need for the Philippines to attain food security and expressed hope that more mayors would prioritize the development of agriculture in their respective municipalities and that the national government would agree to provide subsidies to small farmers to boost agricultural productivity. Mayor Arnado emphasized that more focus should be placed by the government on developing organic agriculture into a major export earner for the Philippines as only 5 percent of the Philippine land area is being utilized for organic agriculture.

At the conclusion of the courtesy call, Ambassador Hernandez expressed hope that the visit of Mayor Arnado and his delegation would pave the way for the Philippines to be able to identify appropriate agricultural equipment in Korea that could be adapted and locally manufactured in the Philippines to improve agricultural productivity in rural communities.

Mayor Arnado was joined by Agriculture Attache Aleli Maghirang, Mr. Philip Kim, President of FITCOREA Trading Philippines Inc. and concurrent member of the Korea Agricultural Machinery Cooperative (KAMICO), former Undersecretary Dante Delima of the Department of Agriculture (DA), and representatives of the DA and agricultural trading companies such as FITCorea and Julimon's Enterprises during the courtesy call.

Aside from the courtesy call, Mayor Arnado and his delegation visited the KAMICO Cheonan Office, Kukje Machinery (manufacturer of the Branson tractor), Asia Technology, LeeHwa Industry (fabricator of the corn milling machine) and Hanil Company (manufacturer of tractor related support equipment) during their visit to Korea.