THE Municipality of Cordova and Haenam County in South Korea have entered into an agriculture cooperation agreement that aims to improve the agricultural competitiveness of both areas, the municipality announced last week.

Cordova Mayor Mary Therese “Teche” Sitoy-Cho and Haenam County Mayor Hyeon Gwan Myeong formally signed the Agricultural Exchange and Cooperation Agreement last Tuesday, March 15, 2022 in a ceremony conducted via video conference.

The goals of the agreement are to strengthen friendship, as well as to improve agricultural competitiveness and consequently farm income in the two areas.

Plans include the exchange of agricultural technology and seasonal workers.

Cordova, a coastal town on Mactan Island, hosts fishing and tourism activities.

Later this year, it will also host the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, the third bridge to link the Cebu mainland to Mactan Island.

Cordova had a population of 70,595 in 2020.

Haenam, on the other hand, is a county in South Jeolla Province in South Korea known for its farming, particularly of rice, sweet potatoes, cabbage, radish and garlic.

It had a population of 65,223 in 2020, according to the National Statistical Office of the Republic of Korea.

For the Cordova-Korea agricultural exchange program, the Cordova mayor received help from Korean partners led by her husband, Bonghwan “Charlie” Cho, president of the Cebu Korean Association.

It was in 2018 when Mayor Cho started the fishing and agricultural exchange program that gave Cordovahanons the opportunity to travel to South Korea to learn about fishing and agricultural technology and to receive an allowance that they could remit to their families in the Philippines.

In February 2018, after signing an agreement with Wonju City in South Korea for skills training in farming, Mayor Cho also signed an agreement with Hoengseong County on skills training and a seasonal worker system to employ foreign workers that would allow the county to address its shortage of farm workers.

In March 2018, she signed a separate agreement with Sokcho City, Gangwon Province for fishery and agricultural exchanges to enable Cordovahanons to learn fishery and agricultural technologies in South Korea for three months.

The first batch of trainees from Cordova left for Hoengseong in July 2018.

In September 2019, she signed another agricultural exchange agreement, this time with Jangsu County.

The program has also given barangay officials and fishermen the chance to visit South Korea to see how the Koreans manage their fishing industry.