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South Korean Gov’t Takes Action to Address Rice Oversupply Problem

By February 10, 2017 at 6:13 am
South Korean gov’t wants to balance rice production and consumption by 2019. (Photo : Photo: kidcyber)

South Korea currently has an oversupply of rice and is now taking steps to deal with the problem. Reducing land dedicated for rice planting are one of the measures introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) on Thursday.

The government wants to trim down rice cultivation areas from 35,000 hectares to 33,000 hectares in 2018. 

This year, the government wants to sharply increase supply of rice for welfare and animal feed. 

Other actions under MAFRA's plan include promoting consumption of rice processed food and increasing overseas rice aid. All these actions aim to balance rice supply and demand by 2019, according to a ministry official.

Cutting the size of rice cultivation hopes to reduce oversupply from 300,000 tons in 2016 to 100,000 tons to 200,000 tons in 2017 and then to 50,000 in 2018. Rice farmers will be urged to plant other crops instead.

As part of its plan to increase rice aid overseas, the government will donate rice to Myanmar and Cambodia. Around 1,000 tons of rice will donated through an emergency stockpile by the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR), which includes ASEAN, Korea, China and Japan, in the first half of 2017. 

South Korea will also join the Food Assistance Convention this year to support its overseas rice aid effort.

Plans are also in place to boost export of processed rice and rice products. The government's target is to achieve US$100 million in exports this year.

Annual consumption of rice per capita has been steadily falling through the years. It stood at 128.1 kg in 1985 and was cut to more than half in 2015 at 62.9 kg.

Due to the supply glut, prices of rice is falling in Korea's rice producing villages. As a result, the flexible direct payments by the government to farmers has reached the World Trade Organization's maximum level of agricultural subsidies.

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