August 5, 2008


South Korea to spend US$1.7 billion to double winter crop for animal feed


South Korea will inject 1.7 trillion won (US$1.67 billion) into its agricultural sector in the next five years to nearly double winter crop output, the government said Monday (Aug 4, 2008).


The plan Most of the money will go into subsidies for farmers, soft loans and support for use of expensive farm equipment, officials said.


The plan calls for at least 660,000 hectares of farmland to be used to raise crops in the winter months by 2012, nearly double that 340,000 hectares at present, the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.


South Korea currently has nearly 1 million hectares of arable land but is largely dependant on foreign grains.


This would involve the creation of at least 500 farms that will be dedicated to the raising of roughage, for livestock. Each farm would have to be at least 500 hectares or larger to ensure economy of scale.


The country is also running a campaign which could push up the country's overall food self-sufficiency level from 27 per cent to 29 percent, following a recent economic report from the Korea Rural Economic Institute that high grain prices on the global market is stoking inflation at home.


The ministry said that if more grain self-sufficiency could save the industry US$880 million annually while farmers could stand to gain 430.0 billion won (US$422 million ) annually through sales, government subsidies and soft loans.


Imported feed or feed made from imported grain accounts for 60 percent of total feed used in the country, which has made Korean meat more expensive than imported meats.

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