The National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) is the apex organization for the 1,223 multipurpose member cooperatives, representing 2.4 million member farmers in Korea. The NACF and the member cooperatives have a 47-year history of working on behalf of farmers and for agricultural development by providing services including
• Agricultural marketing and supply businesses that support farmers from the field to the market, and which cover production, processing and marketing.
• Banking and insurance businesses that include the banking businesses of the NACF, the mutual credit of the member cooperatives, as well as credit guarantees, insurance and credit card businesses.
• Livestock businesses including production, processing, marketing and guidance services.
• Guidance and extension services including the promotion of farm industries and the cooperative movement, training to improve farming skills, and the provision of welfare facilities and guidance for specialized needs.
The NACF aims to improve the living standards of farmers through enhancing their economic, social and cultural status, and also tries to ensure the balanced development of the national economy by increasing the competitiveness of Korean agriculture.
The National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) was established in 1961 out of the merger of the former Agricultural Cooperative and the Agricultural Bank, as a result of the effort to construct an adequate cooperative system for Korean farms that were of small size and lacking funds.
In the 1960s, the NACF had empowered member cooperatives by restructuring village-level primary cooperatives and helping them raise their own capital. Because of member farmers’ insufficient commitment to their cooperatives in the early stages of the cooperative movement, the cooperatives could not unfortunately succeed. Accordingly, the NACF had inaugurated the New Farmers Movement in 1965 to enlighten member farmers and make progress in the cooperative movement. The NACF also set up its own education center in 1963 and the College of Agricultural Cooperatives in 1966 to educate farmers on the latest farming techniques and practices.
After its successful restructuring, the NACF had transferred in 1971 key businesses, including credit services, insurance services and fertilizer and chemicals supplies to primary cooperatives so that member cooperatives could be further developed and be true to the name “multipurpose cooperatives.”
In the 1970s, the NACF had contributed much to the development of agriculture, as well as the agricultural economy. The NACF was able to eradicate with mutual credit service the problems associated with the private credit system, which had saddled farmers with high interest rates. The NACF also increased agricultural production by supplying farming materials and funds and, in due course, by complying with the government’s drive for national food security.
In 1981, the structure of the Korean Agricultural Cooperative had been revised according to the guidelines prepared by the government in 1980. The three-tier structure (primary cooperatives, county cooperatives and federation) had been changed into a two-tier system by transforming county cooperatives into a branch of the NACF. The livestock-related services were separated from the business of the NACF to be performed by newly established federation, the National Livestock Cooperative Federation.
The late 1980s were marked by the drive toward democratization and autonomy in the history of the NACF. The old cooperative law unduly restricted the cooperative’s basic mission, because of the urgent need to enhance the welfare of farmers in the 1960s that were destitute and not familiar with the philosophy of cooperatives.
In accordance with the growing desire of farmers for greater autonomy, the Agricultural Cooperative Act was amended in 1988 and again in 1994. The president of the NACF, formerly appointed by the president, was now to be elected by the presidents of the member cooperatives. The newly revised law also provided that cooperatives would be self-governed through removing statutes permitting government intervention in auditing and other business decision-making processes.
In 2000, the NACF, the National Livestock Cooperative Federation and the National Ginseng Cooperative Federation were merged into the consolidated NACF so as to be more efficient and competitive in the face of fierce market conditions. In response to an aggravated farm economy and to assist hard pressed rural communities struggling to adapt to globalization and new rules set by the WTO and FTAs, the NACF has moved forward with the “New Rural Communities, New Nonghyup Movement” (Nonghyup is Korean for the NACF) in 2004, which has been refashioning the NACF as an indispensable organization to farmers, as well as to all Korean citizens.
Korean agricultural cooperatives are working on two levels. Member cooperatives operate at the regional or county level, while the federation operates at the national level.
The NACF is a unique umbrella organization of member cooperatives across Korea. Member cooperatives are grouped into two categories:
Regional Multipurpose cooperatives which consists of:
• Regional Agricultural Cooperatives formed by agricultural producers
• Regional Livestock Cooperatives formed by livestock producers
Commodity or specialized cooperatives formed by specific growers of commodities, such as fruit, vegetable, flower, ginseng, etc.
There are 1,114 regional cooperatives and 82 commodity cooperatives as member-cooperatives of the NACF. Member cooperatives have 2.4 million farmers as members.
The four business sections of the NACF are (1) Marketing & Supply, (2) Livestock, (3) Banking & Insurance, and (4) Planning & Extension Services. They are working independently with their corresponding CEOs.
The NACF and member cooperatives together have 5,228 offices and branches. Member cooperatives operate 2,104 retail stores called Hanaromarts across the country. The NACF has 16 regional head offices, 156 city and county offices, 830 bank branches, 20 subsidiaries and four overseas offices.
The NACF is operating many diverse businesses to improve member farmers’ economic and social well being, support farming broadly and help improve the member farmers’ communities.
The NACF has organically integrated the three major businesses of proving extension services, marketing & supplies and banking & insurance. This, in turn, creates synergy and improves the economic and social well being of member farmers.
“I Love Farm Campaign”
The NACF is staging a “I love Farm Campaign” to revitalize rural communities which have suffered from the opening of domestic agricultural markets, and to build a national consensus on the importance of agriculture. We would like our campaign to enhance co-existence between rural and urban areas in Korea, and go further to arouse deep affection for our country. The campaign also aims to contribute to the safeguarding of national health and raise the quality of life in both areas.
Within the campaign, the “One Company, One Rural Village” sisterhood program was one of the hottest activities, to which various organizations from business, social and other sectors contributed. As of the end of 2007, 8,114 matching cases were reported. The program was selected as one of the most successful by the government in 2005, and Japan and China considered it a benchmark.
Companies and villages participated in many rural-urban exchange activities, including direct transactions for farm products, the offering of labor assistance to farm households, a program that provides a chance to experience farm life, as well as other programs which help bolster rural communities.
The NACF’s extensive drive to promote the “I love Farm Campaign” attracted national attention on Korean rural communities, and many NGOs, consumer advocacy groups and business circles joined the program.
The NACF is totally committed to sustaining the campaign, and involving the whole country. In 2006, the NACF established the “I Love Farm Campaign” headquarters to further develop the campaign. The NACF also established the Rural Community Leaders Training Institute which provides training programs based on the philosophy of the “I Love Farm Campaign” and rural-urban exchanges. In 2007, 12,104 key leaders from rural villagers completed the intensive training program at the institute.
Mr. Won-Byung CHOI
National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF)
75, Chungjeongno 1-ga, Jung-Gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel : +82-2-2080-6120/ FAX : +82-2-2080-6130
E-mail : email@example.com