Posts tagged ‘agriculture’
November 24, 2011
As anticipated, on 22 November 2011, the National Assembly passed legislation to implement the Korea-United States (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The relatively peaceful passage of the legislation marks a significant step towards defusing the potential political impact of the FTA on the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) in the lead up to key elections in 2012. However, there remain several potential challenges.
October 14, 2011
On 12 October 2011, Canadian Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz, announced that Canada would turn the issue of the South Korean ban on Canadian beef products over to the World Trade Organization (WTO) if the issue is not resolved by the end of 2011. Read more
February 7, 2011
On 7 February 2011 in a meeting with presidential secretaries, President Lee Myung-Bak once again reiterated the administration’s aims to address growing public concerns regarding inflation, emphasising rising energy and food costs.
The focus on these two issues, which are of current public concern, was accompanied by a vision to prepare Korea for longer-term food shortages that could result from climate change.
President Lee called for the establishment of a whole-of-government strategy on agricultural and fishery products, and the establishment of a national organization comprised of civilian and government experts to conduct research into Korea’s future food security.
Korea imports approximately 70 percent of its food and is already in the process of implementing reforms to stabilize food resource imports. This has included steps to establish a state-owned grain trading company to address price volatility in international markets; steps to purchase stakes in key grain supply facilities in the United States; and promotion of commercial investment in agricultural resources and facilities in developing countries.
January 29, 2011
On 28 January 2011, the Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS) reported that national rice consumption fell to a record low level in 2010.
Average annual consumption per person fell 1.6 percent from the previous year to 72.8 kilograms, meaning average annual consumption per person has declined by approximately 22 percent over a ten-year period. This follows a November 2010 report by KOSIS that national rice production had fallen to the lowest level in almost 30 years due to excessive rains and decreased rice acreage.
KOSIS accorded the decline in consumption to the diversification of the Korean diet, noting the increase in the consumption of wheat based alternatives, but failed to mention supply constraints resulting from the record low levels in national rice production.
Rice consumption in Korea is still significantly higher in Korea than in Japan and Taiwan and the substantial differences between geographic, generational and urban/rural consumption indicate that wheat based alternatives will rise in the medium term.
January 21, 2011
On 18 January 2011, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF) announced its third five-year ‘green farming’ development program, which will inject USD4.46 billion until 2015 to expand eco-friendly farming infrastructure and to facilitate a ‘green farming’ environment.
The plan will create up to 50 dedicated eco-friendly farming regions, which will increase chemical-free production areas from 4.9 percent of all arable land in 2009 to 12 percent within 5 years. Importantly, the plan will also upgrade distribution and sales systems to increase consumer awareness of domestic green agricultural production.
The announcement received minimal media attention with current domestic and international media clearly focused on the Ministry’s efforts to control the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak. However, the announcement will have a substantial impact on the sector.
The ‘wellbeing’ trend in Korean consumption has to date primarily benefitted importers of clean green produce. The underlying efforts to increase consumer confidence in locally grown food may expand the sub-sector, but will ultimately raise the competitiveness of local produce vis-a-vis imports.
December 31, 2010
Agriculture Ministry officials have confirmed that they are investigating cases of H5N1 avian influenza in Cheonan, North Chungcheong Province, and Iksan, North Jeolla Province.
Officials in North Jeolla slaughtered and buried 17,000 chickens at the Iksan farm and 90,000 chickens from a second farm within a 500-meter quarantine zone. H5N1 avian influenza is highly pathogenic and can be transmitted to humans via the feces of infected birds or direct contact with infected poultry.
These are the first reported cases of avian influenza since the country was declared free in August 2008, following the worst outbreak of the disease when nearly 8.5 million birds were culled. The H5N1 avian influenza outbreak is on top of an unfolding outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The H5N1 avian influenza outbreak also follows an announcement by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a man who tested positive for the H1N1 swine flu virus passed away. More than 763,700 people tested positive for H1N1 between April 2009 and August 2010.
South Korea does not have a strong record of controlling and quarantining animal disease outbreaks due to both the structure of agricultural production and local management procedures. The concurrent animal disease outbreaks will severely test authorities and the simultaneity of the outbreaks with the first seasonal H1N1 death will attract domestic media attention and affect consumer preferences.
December 29, 2010
The Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed three new cases of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Yangpyeong County, Incheon and Cheongsong, as officials begin vaccinations in an attempt to control the outbreak.
More than 144,342 quarantine personnel are stationed at 1,200 checkpoints across the country to assist in the decontamination, culling and vaccination processes. The ministry estimates losses to date related to the disease at USD347.5 million dollars. However, inevitably the cost to producers will increase.
The domestic media has started reporting on the health implications of consuming beef from FMD vaccinated cattle. While beef from vaccinated cattle can be consumed under World Organization for Animal Health guidelines, domestic public sentiment is strongly opposed. Further media interest in animal health issues will add to consumer trends toward alternatives, and imports from countries perceived as clean and green.