1. Factors contributing to accelerating the green revolution in Korea
In 1968, Korea succeeded in developing a high-yielding rice variety, later called 'Tongil', and thereafter many varieties with spread of Tongil type varieties to farmers in early 1970s. As a result, Korea attained self-sufficiency in rice, called 'Green Revolution in Korea' in 1977. There were several factors contributed to the green revolution.
① Efficient Breeding system
The success of varietal improvement is greatly rely on the efficiency of the breeding systems for testing and selection of breeding materials. In early 1970s the research institutes covering all the country were set up and functioned well to development of the new rice varieties in Korea.
② International cooperation
In close collaboration with the agricultural college and IRRI, RDA was able to make use of their talent, facilities and technical information in the process of breeding new varieties. Formation of such a cooperative system has laid a strong foundation on which agricultural technology can be continuously developed. In order to distribute the newly hybridized varieties to farmers as soon as possible, segregation materials were shipped to the Philippines for multiplication during the winter season. The seeds multiplied were immediately flown back to Korea early the next year. By doing so, rice self-sufficiency was able to be realized earlier than expected. ##MORE_LAYER_BOX##
[RDA Personnel Participated in Cooperation Programs of IRRI (1961-1989)]
③ An exclusive extension services
Farm training in the winter season : Technical farm training was widely conducted during the winter season so that farmers would be able to obtain the technologies for high yield by through understandings of the special traits of the new Tongil type varieties. Since 1971, when the pilot planting was begun, a series of intensive technical farm training sessions were conducted during the winter season for three months from December to March of the following year not only for those farmers who planted the newly developed varieties but also for those who had not yet attempted to grow them.
Farm training by mass media : Farm technical training by means of radio and TV services has been very active and most effective thanks to the cooperation of the radio and TV stations providing time for farm programs.
Accountable field guidances : Field guidance agents persuading farmers to grow the new varieties risked severe criticism when the farmers experienced even a slight crop failure with the new varieties. Therefore, in order to reduce chances of crop failure, they were fully occupied with unceasing field guidance from seedbed preparation through harvest, and even assisted with marketing, as if the farms were their own. It was not unusual for all the research and guidance agents serving across the nation to be unable to enjoy their rightful summer vacation or even Sunday off due to their extraordinarily overwhelming workload. the green revolution is to a great degree ascribable to their noble sacrifice.
Distribution of agricultural information : On each Saturday, a special radio program was issued on the following week's weather forecast, including an outline of the week's farm work and other farm information so that farmers could prepare for the farm works. Information on plant diseases and insect pests was also broadcasted every Friday from March to September.
④ Importance of Leadership
The President, Park, emphasized the achievement of food self-sufficiency through varietal improvement for three years from 1970 to 1972 and also he expected endless efforts from research and extension workers for the development of new varieties and dissemination of new technologies to farmers. He said, for example, "AT first, increase in food production! We import a great deal of food at present time, but we must reduce food import by increasing food production. At least we should achieve self-sufficiency in rice(in the new year`s press conference, 1974)" He showed great concern and gave strong support to achieve the self-sufficiency in rice through the development of new rice varieties and immediate dissemination of them to farmers.
⑤ Governmental strong recommendation and administrative supports
The systematic and unwavering support of the government was most influential factors contributing to the green revolution.
Governmental purchasing policy was a very powerful factor : The government induced growers to adopt Tongil type varieties by setting the government's purchasing prices higher than market prices. Beginning in the early 1970s, the government substantially raised the government price for rice every year. Under the government purchase program, real prices rose 5.7% annually between 1969 and 1979. In line with increases of rice production the volume of government purchases of rice has continuously expanded to a level capable of accommodating as much as farmers wish to sell.
Government's strong recommendation : To enhance the adoption of the new rice varieties, a target level of adoption was assigned to local government officials as well as each extension worker in the provinces. The adoption of Tongil type varieties tied to the officials' and extension workers' ability to get promoted. With strong 'persuasion' from the government, Tongil type rice varieties were planted in 76.2% of all rice cultivated area by 1978.
The administrative support of timely supply of the inputs for rice production : Increases in rice production could not have been obtained except for the timely and sufficient supply of fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, vinyl and other materials for seedbeds.
Prize awards to high yielding farms : As an incentive to induce the adoption of Tongil and Tongil type varieties and to increase their productivity, an award was given to the growers who produced the highest yield. The award was given to all growers whose yields as milled rice were over 6 tons/ha. To those growers, 100,000 won(ca. 250 dollars) was given as a prize. In addition to the awards for individual growers, there was another award for the joint cultivation districts. For the districts whose average yields were the highest in the country, one million won(ca. 2,500 dollars) was awarded, and for those with the second highest yield, 500 thousand won(ca. 1,200 dollars) was awarded.
Among the factors contributing to the green revolution in Korea, the most influencing factor was the systematic and unwavering support of the Korean government. In particular, the interest of President Park in self-sufficiency in rice is known as influenced greatly to the achievement of green revolution in Korea. From the end of the 1960s to the early 1970s, the industrial development of a few areas on which the government concentrated available financial resources began to lead the industries in the sectors. The agricultural sector was awakened and funded substantially for construction of agricultural infra-structure like as agricultural water resources, irrigation systems, land reclamation, and consolidation of farmland to build the basis for improvement of agricultural productivity. The governmental policies to supply appropriately of agricultural inputs such as chemical fertilizers and agro-chemicals for crop protection from disease and insect pests contributed greatly to the achievement of self-sufficiency in rice.
The Rural Development Administration(RDA) was founded in 1962 for implementation of agricultural policies on development and dissemination of agricultural technology. The fact that RDA had both functions of managing agricultural research works and extension services under one umbrella could make it possible to disseminate very quickly and efficiently the newly developed technologies from the research institutes to farmers and to accept the feedback from the extension services to the related institutes, and to brought the green revolution earlier than expected.
Through breeding a new variety by using a strategy involving a 3-way cross of Indica and Japonica types, which had long been ignored as being of little practical value, a miraculously high-yielding variety, Tongil, has been developed. Since then, several new Tongil type varieties possessing better characteristics, have been continuously developed. The rapid disseminations of the newly developed varieties and improved cultural practices to the farmers were the core factors to the Korean green revolution.
In close collaboration with the agricultural college and IRRI, RDA was able to make use of their talent, facilities and technical information in the process of breeding new varieties. Formation of such a cooperative system has laid a strong foundation on which agricultural technology can be continuously developed. In order to distribute the newly hybridized varieties to farmers as soon as possible, segregation materials were shipped to the Philippines for multiplication during the winter season. The seeds multiplied were immediately flown back to Korea early the next year. By doing so, extensive dissemination of the new varieties become shortened by one year, but rice self-sufficiency was able to be realized earlier than expected.
3. Adaptability of the Korea's experience in Green Revolution to developing countries
The agricultural policies and experiences in achieving the green revolution in Korea are surely helpful to the developing countries which are still suffering from the food shortages in Africa or Asia. Our agricultural system will be rather well applicable to those countries that have small-scaled agricultural systems. The Experiences and knowledge obtained from the innovation of agricultural technology in Korea will be a good model for the developing countries in the world.
The financial resource is also the most important factor for the innovation of agriculture as same in other industrial sectors. There can be suggested two models for the developing countries to achieve the agricultural innovation and to solve the food shortage problem through increase in food production.
The countries that have some capabilities to invest in agricultural sectors are able to build the basis for innovation of agricultural productivity within a short period. Meanwhile, the countries that have no financial resources except agricultural sectors would maximize the financial resources by the mobilization of domestic resource and aids from abroad, and concentrate the resources on some targeted areas within agricultural sectors at first. The targeted areas would be developed and have the competitiveness gradually by implementation of technology enhancement and financial supports. With the successful performance in the targeted areas, advanced technologies and available funds can be shared with the food security areas.
In either case of the two models, governmental investment on agricultural sector with national leader's firm conviction, building the basis of infrastructures for agricultural production, the organization with an efficient operation system for development of new technologies and spread of them rapidly to farm, and the close cooperation system with the related institutions of home and abroad are needed for the successful achievement of green revolution through the expansion of food production. But most of all, farmer's consciousness and national consensus would be prerequisite for achievement of the green revolution.