Tuesday, July 12, 2011
South Korea to Expand Overseas Farming on Rising Food Costs
South Korea, the world’s third-biggest corn buyer, plans to secure more farmland overseas to grow crops such as corn and wheat and secure a stable supply amid surging food prices.
The North Asian nation wants to secure a total of 380,000 hectares of overseas farmland by 2018, the agriculture ministry said in an e-mailed statement today, without giving a comparative figure. That area can produce about 1.38 million tons of corn, wheat and soybeans, or about 10 percent of the nation’s annual imports of the three major crops, it said.
South Korea, which relies on imports for almost all its corn and wheat while fully self-sufficient in rice, is seeking to boost supplies as surging global food costs fuel inflation. Corn futures prices have jumped 63 percent in Chicago in the past year, while soybeans climbed 42 percent and wheat gained 22 percent.
The government will help the nation’s companies lease arable land or buy stakes in overseas firms, the statement said. It will prioritize countries such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Ukraine, Indonesia and Russia for potential investments, it said.
South Korea also plans to expand its overseas grain trading business into countries including Brazil, Russia and Ukraine after a U.S. venture was set up earlier this year, the statement said. State-run Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corp. in April started a grain-trading venture in Chicago to help secure supplies, the statement said.
Philippine Agriculture Opportunity
Not only South Korea, but China and many other nations are running out of food due to high demand, low production, and high prices. The Philippines can benefit in two ways, by producing more for its own domestic consumption, and the growing foreign demand for food products. With commodity prices at record high levels and looking to stay that way, the Philippines has the potential to benefit in so many ways. Invest in Philippine farming and farmers, and watch that investment earn exponential returns in the long-term. Contact and urge your local government officials to help the Philippines be food self-sufficient and in time, a food exporting country again.
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