South Korea's self-sufficiency rate for rice expected to reach 92% in 2014, the first time in four years that rate would be over 90%, government officials say

SEJONG, South Korea , November 26, 2013 () – South Korea's self-sufficiency rate for rice is expected to reach over 90 percent in 2014 for the first time in four years, government officials said Tuesday.

According to officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the country's self-sufficiency rate for rice is expected to reach 92 percent next year.

The estimate comes as the country's total consumption is expected to drop to about 4.58 million tons with its per capita consumption shrinking 1.75 percent from 68.5 kilograms this year to 67.3 kg.

The ministry earlier said the country's total rice production grew 5.6 percent on-year to a little over 4.23 million tons this year.

"Considering the amount of rice in government reserve, the country may be said to be fully sufficient as total consumption covers both new and old rice while total production only refers to new rice," a ministry official said.

The country's self-sufficiency rate for rice had remained well above 90 percent until 2010 but has remained in the 80-percent range since it dropped to the record low of 83.1 percent in 2011.

The self-sufficiency rate for this year is expected to come in at around 87 percent as the country's total rice output dropped 5.2 percent on-year to about 4 million tons last year.

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