August 5, 2011
South Korea pushes for overseas grain production


The South Korean government plans to spend about KRW10 trillion (US$9.5 billion) to raise domestic and overseas crop output by 2020, lifting its self-sufficiency rate - including overseas production - from the current 27% to 65%.


Seoul will finance agricultural production by private and state-run firms in countries where costs are lower than in South Korea in order to secure 910,000 tonnes of crops in 2015 for domestic consumption, and 1.38 million tonnes by 2020.


The government will also facilitate development of new crop varieties and encourage farmers to automate production, aiming to boost self-sufficiency from domestic farming alone to 30% in 2015 from 25%.


According to a South Korean agricultural research institute, as of the end of last year, 73 companies, mainly small and midsize firms, cultivated a total of 24,000 hectares of farmland in 18 countries, such as Indonesia and China, to grow wheat and other crops. Most of the crops raised in those countries were consumed locally, with about 44,000 tonnes shipped to South Korea.

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