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South Korea Cereal Production Increased in 2013 but Remained Below Average

24 February 2014

SOUTH KOREA - In the Republic of Korea, the main staple crop, paddy rice, is planted in May-June and harvested in September-October.

The 2013 rice production (in paddy terms) was officially estimated at 5.7 million tonnes, some 6 per cent above the previous year’s below-average output and about 4 per cent lower than the previous five-year average level, reports FAO.

The average paddy production for last five years (2008-2012) has been about 6 million tonnes (equivalent to 4.4 million tonnes of milled rice).

Despite an estimated reduction of 2 per cent in plantings, the increase in 2013 production is mainly attributed to higher yields, as a result of favourable weather conditions and increased use of high yielding variety seeds.

The area planted to paddy has been declining since early 2000 and particularly in recent years, as farmers shifted to more profitable crops and more land was converted to other uses. In addition to rice, small quantities of barley, maize and other cereals are produced.

Cereal imports forecast to increase in 2013/14 marketing year

Generally, domestic production covers only about 30 per cent of the total utilization of cereals in the country.

Very little wheat and maize (for feed) are produced domestically, hence large quantities, of about 5 million tonnes and over 8 million tonnes, respectively, are imported annually.

Maize imports in the marketing year 2013/14 (October/September) are forecast to increase to about 8.9 million tonnes. Small amount of rice, about 450 000 tonnes, is forecast to be imported.

The country enjoys relatively low inflation and high economic growth. The latest available official data indicate that nationally the overall consumer price index (CPI) in December 2013 (year-on-year), increased by 1.1 per cent.

TheCropSite News Desk

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