ON November 15, the Batitang Agricultural Cooperative (BAC) in Nueva Ecija, aided by Korea Partnership for Innovation in Agriculture (Kopia) Phils. Center, PhilRice, and the Municipality of Zaragoza local government unit (LGU) formally started its seedling-agribusiness enterprise with the completion ceremony of its facilities composed of two greenhouses for seedling nurseries and a 200-sq.m. operation building to house the BAC-Kopia Office, farm tools, supplies-storage area, and the project’s members’ meeting room.
Kopia donated the center’s facilities to support the BAC for their seedling business, in partnership with PhilRice and Zaragoza LGU aiming to make the municipality and its locales within the province a vegetable-seedling center.
Country director Dr. Kyu-seong Lee of Kopia Phils. Center, Mayor Lally Belmonte of Zaragoza, PhilRice Deputy Executive Director for Development Dr. Karen T. Barroga and BAC president Ising Marcos graced the ceremony, with more than 160 farmers from Batitang and nearby barangays.
Dr. Lee emphasized that BAC owns the facilities, as its members should treat it with care and use them effectively to boost their income and transform their community via “the spirit of diligence, self-help, and cooperation.” He hoped that all members of the BAC and other farmers in Zaragoza “would work together as a family and support one another.”
For her part, Belmonte pledged her support to BAC’s efforts by providing transportation and other assistance needed by the members, particularly in marketing their products.
Meanwhile, Dr. Barroga recognized Kopia’s valuable help to the community, as she further encouraged BAC to adopt the spirit of “Saemaul Undong”—a community-driven development program of the Republic of Korea in the 1970s—to sustain the project even after the end of the funding.
The event ended on a high note as the BAC leadership, through Marcos as its chair, committed to continue Kopia’s legacy through continuous education and acquisition of relevant skills in making Zaragoza’s seedling industry sustainable and scaled. He pledged to do more in the coming months to further the seedling enterprise’s profitability.
The Embassy of Korea said this is just one of the grant programs to Filipino farmers enabling them to gain income through Kopia from the Korean government.
Image credits: FB: Kopia Phils. Center