November 15, 2013
Between later this month and next March, South Korea's Seoul Feed Co Ltd plans to import up to 15,000 tonnes of corn it has grown in Russia, nearly five times more than similar shipments made last year.
Seoul Feed began to produce corn in the Maritime Province of Siberia last year to tackle high grain import costs. It shipped 3,180 tonnes back to South Korea in 2012.
Seoul Feed brings only corn to South Korea from its six farms in Russia, although it produces other crops including soy, according to Daniel Lee, manager of resource development at the feedmaker.
According to the country's customs data, South Korea, the world's third largest importer of corn and a leading buyer of soymeal and wheat, imported 8.2 million tonnes of corn for both food and feed production in 2012. Russian corn accounted for 8,218 tonnes, or about 1%, of the total.
Over the next three months, Seoul Feed's shipments from Russia would be divided into three shipments stretching from late November or early December to March, Lee said.
South Korea and Russia are set to hold summit talks in Seoul to discuss ways of boosting economic cooperation, including the possibility of piped gas and power supply from Russia and railway links.
Lee informed that Russia re-opened a railway link with North Korea in September, and any connection onwards to South Korea could help ship Russian corn.
The head of Russia's state Russian Railways said in September that the rail line from the Russian eastern border town of Khasan to the North Korean port of Rajin could be used for exporting coal and importing goods from South Korea and other Asian countries.
Due to stalled relations between the two Koreas, progress on pipelines and railroad lines connecting Russia to South Korea has been slow.
Seoul Feed buys about 30,000 tonnes of corn a month, mostly from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine.