[Letters] Rationalizing rice supply

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[Letters] Rationalizing rice supply

The amount of the annual rice consumption per person has dropped from 99.2 kilograms (218 pounds) in 1998 to 74 kilograms in 2009. This year will see the lowest level of rice crops in the recent decade.

The agricultural community is now worrying that Korea would follow in the footsteps of the Philippines, which used to be a rice exporter but became an importer due to failed investments in farming infrastructure. In the 1980s, the Philippines self-supplied rice and exported the excess crops, but it is now importing more than 2.5 million tons annually.

For Korea to avoid such a crisis, we must come up with a more aggressive measure. We must pay special attention to the later period of rice farming to improve the quality of the crops.

The early stage of the rice farming is important, but it is also crucial to focus on rice from now until the harvest because the sunshine duration from late August until September has a crucial impact.

It is important to thoroughly prepare for downpours and typhoons.

Last year, the rainfalls in autumn caused the significant drop in the rice production, recording 4.29 million tons of harvest, the worst in 30 years since 1980’s 3.55 million tons. The task now is preparing two separate measures to stabilize rice supply based on the scenarios of bad and good crops.

Jang Il-ju, a professor at a farming institute in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang.
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