S. Korea's rice production expected to grow 5.8 pct this year

SEJONG, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's rice production is expected to grow this year from a year earlier, providing adequate amount to supply its needs, the government said Monday.

The country's total rice output is expected to reach 4.24 million tons this year, up 5.8 percent from 2012, according to Statistics Korea.

The government said the amount will be more than enough to meet the country's demand for rice.

"The forecast output of 4.24 million tons appears to be an adequate amount for a balance between supply and demand, considering that expected demand for rice stands at 4.19 million tons," the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a press release.

The ministry said the total output was expected to grow despite a 1.9 percent drop in the total area for rice farming, as the average output is expected to grow 7.8 percent on-year to 510 kilograms per 10 acres.

In 2014, each person is expected to consume 67.3 kilograms of rice, down 1.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the ministry.

The country's per capita consumption of rice has been declining steadily since such data began to be compiled in 1972, when the average consumption stood at 134.5 kilograms per person.

The government plans to purchase 370,000 tons of rice this year for government stockpile in part to protect the farmers by preventing the price of rice from plummeting.

Apart from its own production, South Korea annually imports about 350,000 tons of rice under an agreement with the World Trade Organization signed in 2004.

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