Simplified distribution to take direct approach

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Simplified distribution to take direct approach

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock unveiled its plan to reform the produce distribution system in order to help tame inflation at the Blue House yesterday.

The ministry reported to President Park Geun-hye that it will perform a major overhaul of the current distribution process to reduce the financial burden on consumers.

“The main goal is to create a system that gives farmers 5 percent higher earnings and cuts consumer prices by 10 percent,” the ministry said in a statement.

President Park Geun-hye has vowed to improve the agriculture distribution system in a way that will lead to higher incomes for producers and lower prices for consumers. Last week, she visited a distribution center in southern Seoul and an adjacent marketplace where producers sell goods directly to consumers to underline her commitment to ordinary citizens.

According to the plan, stores where consumers and farmers directly transact will be increased from the current 20 to 200. The Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation will be in charge of running the stores.

In cooperation with Nonghyup, the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, the ministry will expand bodies that oversee shipments of agricultural products to 600 by 2016.

In order to help cut logistics costs by 50 percent, the government will set up five logistics centers in each province of the country.

Nonghyup also plans to increase its own distribution proportion of agricultural products from the current 12 percent to 20 percent by 2016, while raising the figure for direct transactions from 4 percent to 10 percent.

The government also plans to renovate 32 wholesale markets in order to help them gain competitiveness.

For products with widely fluctuating prices, the ministry will set appropriate levels for prices rather than relying on short-term measures like bringing in more imports or cutting tariffs.

The ministry will set up a committee on the adjustment of supply and demand for agricultural products. The committee aims to listen to consumers more to stabilize prices more effectively.

The ministry also announced its goal of developing agricultural tourism.

“The government will combine the primary agricultural industry with the secondary processing industry and the tertiary tourism industry,” the ministry said.

Specific plans include attracting tourists to villages where they can experience life on a farm.

By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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