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NACF Korea hosts ICA-Asia Pacific Joint Conference
On 26 April, delegates from ten different countries gathered at the NACF headquarters in Seoul to participate in a joint conference with ICA Asia-Pacific and NACF on the Agricultural Cooperative System in Korea.
The ICA-AP/NACF joint conference has been an annual event for over a decade, but this year was the first to include participants from African countries. Two delegates from Kenya and Swaziland were welcomed into the fold to learn about the extensive agricultural cooperative system in Korea while also sharing their own insights. Also participating in the event were delegates from India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam.
On the first day of the meeting, Mr. Gwangseok Hong of the NACF International Cooperation Office delivered a presentation on Korean agricultural cooperatives including their history, structure, and development. Then, Mr. Seungmin Lee, also from the NACF International Cooperation Office, presented on the NACF banking and insurance business. In the afternoon, delegates listened to Mr. Won-sik Ju discuss the agricultural and livestock marketing business in Korea as well as some particularly good examples of agricultural cooperatives within the NACF network. And finally, delegates from the different participating countries had the opportunity to share brief presentations about cooperatives in their home countries. That evening, NACF hosted a welcome dinner at a tradition Korean course-style restaurant.
On day two of the conference, participants were taken to the Icheon Rice Processing Facility, where they observed first hand the processing and distribution system that NACF and its subsidiaries have in place. After a delicious lunch at a local restaurant which featured this high quality rice, participants were taken to the Nongwoo Bio headquarters. Nongwoo Bio is a subsidiary of NACF that specializes in the cultivation, testing, and distributing of seeds. After a tour and an informative presentation, everyone returned to Seoul for the evening.
The final day of the trip included a visit to Anseong Farmland. Anseong Farmland is an educational center for families where children and parents can experience rural farm life firsthand, with animals, fields of different crops, and tractors. Conference participants enjoyed the up-close interactions with the different Korean animals. After a fun filled morning, everyone returned to Seoul to visit the Yangjae Hanaro Club. NACF is unique among cooperatives because its members directly control a large sales outlet called Hanaro. This happens to be one of the largest Hanaro Clubs in Korea featuring vast quantities of local Korean agricultural products.
All in all, the conference was a tremendous success and all involved were satisfied with their newly gained knowledge. NACF and ICA-AP look forward to hosting the conference again next year and involving even more participating countries.