Government tries to reduce ending stocks as human rice consumption declines.
Photo courtesy of Adobestock.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Rice ending stocks in South Korea continue to fall as the government has begun allowing the use of rice for consumption in animal feed, according to a Nov. 6 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The report said rice ending stocks in South Korea are projected to decrease to 1.7 million tonnes and 1.2 million tonnes in marketing years 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively.

To reduce high ending stocks, the South Korean government released rice to be used as feed for the first time in 2015-16, making 101,000 tonnes of brown rice available for feed use. In 2016-17, 480,000 tonnes of brown rice was released for feed use and the government recently published a plan to release 750,000 tonnes in 2017-18.

The move to designate more rice for feed use comes as rice for human consumption continues to decline in South Korea. The report noted that annual per capita table rice consumption reached its peak at 136.4 kg in 1970 and has gradually declined to 61.4 kg in 2015-16, according to preliminary government statistics.

“Per capita table rice consumption continues declining as eating habits change due to rising incomes and the growing popularity of Western foods,” the report said.

Statistics Korea (KOSTAT) recently released its 2017 rice production estimate of 3.96 million tonnes, which is down 5.8% from the previous year due to smaller production area and lower yield.

“Rice area has continued to decrease annually – with decreases ranging from 5,000 hectares to 38,000 hectares every year since 2001,” the report said.