Rice harvest increases for the first time in six years, up 10.7%Korea’s rice output rose for the first time in six years due mainly to favorable weather conditions and an increase in the cultivation area, data showed Monday.
The country’s rice production reached 3.88 million tons in 2021, up 10.7 percent from a record low of 3.51 million tons the previous year, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
It marked the first rebound since 2015 when rice output rose 2 percent on-year to 4.33 million tons. The figure declined for the fifth straight year in 2020.
The increase in the output came as favorable weather conditions from July through October, such as longer sunshine hours and less rainfall, helped the growth of rice grains, the statistics agency said.
The increase in the cultivation area for rice also boosted production. The combined size of rice paddies inched up 0.8 percent to 732,477 hectares — about half the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut, it added.
The yearly rice production, however, still hovered below 4 million tons for the fifth straight year.
Rice is a key staple food for Koreans, but its consumption has been on a steady decline in recent decades due mainly to changes in diet and eating habits.
Per capita average annual rice consumption hit a record low of 57.7 kilograms in 2020, compared with a record high of 136.4 kilograms in 1970, according to the agency.