SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Slow domestic production and a well-supplied market is keeping South Korea’s soybean imports steady, according to a March 1 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The country’s marketing year 2020-21 soybean imports are expected to stay at 1.27 million tonnes.

Despite soybeans being the most heavily consumed soybean in South Korea, the USDA does not anticipate a jump in its 2020-21 consumption, which is forecast at 1.39 million tonnes.

The USDA said South Korea’s domestic soybean production is looking up as the government is encouraging farmers to produce less rice. During the 2018-19 marketing year soybeans accounted for 56% of the country’s total oilseed production.

In the 2019-20 marketing year soybean production jumped 18% to 105,340 tonnes, which compared to 12,004 tonnes in the previous year.

“This production growth was due mainly to a sharp increase in acreage in tandem with slightly improved yields,” the USDA said.