As part of Korea's strategy for the transfer of agricultural technology to developing countries, the Rural Development Administration (RDA) has been building agricultural R&D partnerships over the past two decades with counterparts from developing countries in Asia, including Vietnam.
The cooperation has been carried out through the Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) and the Asia Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) of the RDA.
Bilateral links between Korea and Vietnam have developed significantly since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992. However, the two countries' agricultural relationship was officially established in 2009 when the RDA opened the KOPIA Vietnam center at Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) to support further collaboration between the RDA and VAAS in agricultural technology transfer.
At this crucial event, the RDA signed the first formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) with VAAS that laid the foundation for a succeeding decade of collaboration.
KOPIA and Vietnam have since worked hand in hand focusing on practical agricultural technologies and practices (T&P) development and dissemination, capacity building for Vietnamese researchers and extension workers, institutional establishment and expert consultation.
The year 2019 marks 10 years of collaborative research and development in agriculture between the RDA and VAAS and also the 10th anniversary of the KOPIA Vietnam office establishment.
14 collaborative agricultural projects
In collaboration with VAAS and its institution members, KOPIA Vietnam has facilitated 14 collaborative agricultural projects across Vietnam. The projects have covered a wide range of areas such as varietal selection and development, seed production and dissemination, plant protection, bio-fuel, plant nutrient management, postharvest, agricultural extension education and capacity building.
This is an important way that RDA benefits the development of the crop production sub-sector in particular and agriculture and rural areas in Vietnam in general.
For a decade of cooperation, almost 3,000 cultivars of Korean crop varieties such as vegetables and bio-fuel crops, were tested throughout agri-ecological zones of Vietnam in which 60 promising ones were selected to grow widely in Vietnam.
The collaborative projects have published 19 books and circulated 22,350 hard copies of them to 950 agricultural agencies and institutions in Vietnam.
Capacity building and human resource development are also an important achievement of the KOPIA-VAAS collaboration. As of 2018, more than 120 Vietnamese researchers and extension workers, of whom more than one-third are women, have received training in agricultural technologies in Korea.
It's believed that the tradition and spirit of comprehensive cooperation between VAAS and the RDA, KOPIA Vietnam Center, built on trust and respect, will be expanding over other areas of the agriculture sector such as food safety, climate change, soil fertility and value chain for agro-product, which are strengths and priority themes of the two sides in the next decades.