Korean gov’t to buy 157,000 tons of rice to stabilize prices

March 7, 2016

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The government said Tuesday that it will purchase an additional 157,000 tons of locally produced rice last year, as part of its effort to stabilize market prices.

Under the measure approved at a Cabinet meeting, the government will spend 140 billion won (US$113.6 million) to isolate 157,000 tons of rice from the market following its previous purchase of 200,000 tons in October 2015.

In 2015, South Korea harvested a surplus amount of 3.57 million tons of rice.

The government will resell the reserved rice in the market after considering supply and demand conditions, as well as local prices, officials said.

The Seoul government purchases the staple grain as part of the country’s strategic reserves so it can cope with national emergencies, or a sudden spike in international grain prices. The purchase of rice also directly impacts the income of farmers.

A huge surplus of rice coupled with Koreans eating less rice and more bread has led to a fall in rice prices over the years.

The state-controlled rice stockpile reached 1.9 million tons at the end of 2015, according to agriculture ministry data.

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