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The Philippines and Korea to Collaborate on Smart Farming and More

As per official government channels, the Philippines and South Korea are to collaborate on a series of Research and Development (R&D) projects starting this year, the chief of which is smart agriculture. It’s been four years since the respective R&D agencies of the two nations had their last joint initiative. Now, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have discussed possible initiatives where they could work together.

Leah Buendia, DOST Assistant Secretary, disclosed her optimism about the partnership in an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA). She pointed out that through the years both countries have enjoyed a “fruitful relationship.”

Fortunato de la Peña, DOST Secretary, confirmed that smart agriculture is one of the key areas where the South Koreans are wanting to collaborate with Filipinos.

Recently, top officials of the two agencies did a virtual meeting to discuss the details of the collaboration. Buendia informed PNA that both parties have agreed to zero in on smart vertical farming, otherwise called indoor farming. Also, they’re to look into the swift intensification of cyclones.

They’ve also set a timetable on how to move forward. The proposal calls for these topics will start by June. Hopefully, the projects will commence by September. As per initially agreed, both parties will limit themselves to tackling one project per year. Also, the initial capital outlay for both agencies has been set at US$ 32,000 a year.

Researchers from both countries on the topic of smart farming and the intensification of cyclones will contribute to the R&D efforts. Both teams will also jointly implement their own research. Already, they are currently sharing needed details as to the particular scope limits of the proposed research.

The Philippines can benefit a lot from smart farming. For one, it is classified as an agricultural country. Almost half, or about 47%, of the 30 million hectares of the country’s land area is arable, agricultural land. Today, the nation is a top exporter of coconuts, mangoes, bananas and sugarcane.

South Korea does not have as much arable land as the Philippines. Yet, its farmable land which constitutes 22% of the total land area can also benefit from smart agriculture. Its top crop is rice which represents 40% of the total farm income.

Buendia acknowledges that studying the speed of the development of cyclones is central to a more efficient disaster response denoting that the country is prone to weather disturbances. Studying it should give the government a better way to predict the formation of strong winds before they reach maximum strength. She defines rapid intensification as the ability of these winds to reach 25kph in just a day.

By doing research with other countries, the Philippines increase its chances of success. That means it should be able to apply key technologies such as digital technologies to be able to move its economy forward.

It wouldn’t be the first time technology is used to mitigate the country’s disaster response. Just recently, Manila has been keen on using digital tech to increase its chances of battling natural disasters such as earthquakes and weather disturbances.

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