SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Supply chain issues hampered South Korean rice imports in the final quarter of 2021, leading to a 11% decrease in imports from the previous marketing year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
South Korea’s estimated rice import total of 418,336 tonnes for 2020-21 was 16% lower than the previous USDA forecast, which was made last fall. The rice import forecast for 2021-22 has been revised upward to 490,000 tonnes, a 19% increase, due to actual delivery of some 2021 tariff rate quota contacts moving to 2022.
The USDA estimated this year’s rice output in South Korea at 3.88 million tonnes, up 10% from the previous year, while rice consumption is virtually unchanged from 2020-21 at 3.96 million tonnes.
As in many Asian countries, rice consumption has been declining in South Korea in recent years, having fallen four consecutive years since a recent peak of 4.7 million tonnes in 2017-18. Per capita rice consumption has declined from 59.2 kilograms in 2018-19 to a projected 55.3 kilograms in 2021-22, according to the USDA.