Korea nurtures seed industry to bolster food security

To overcome Korea's limit in its market size, which accounts for only 1 percent of the international market, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is investing 400 billion won ($352.4 million) to help seed firms to log $200 million in exports and become the world's No. 15 seed-exporting country by 2021.

According to the ministry, the global seed market was valued at $37.2 billion in 2016, and that of Korea accounted for $500 million, which is 1.34 percent of the total.

Of Korean private seed firms' sales in 2016, 88.4 percent was for domestic use, and 96 percent of those seeds were vegetable seeds.

To break through this domestic confinement, the ministry has been carrying out the 10-year Golden Seed Project since 2012.

For the project, the government earmarked 398.5 billion won to organize five industrial groups carrying out 89 projects on 20 products. The private sector also pitched in 92.6 billion won.

Ten of those products are for exports including pepper, Napa cabbage, white radish, watermelon, rice, potato, corn, halibut, abalone and Serranidae. Ten other products are to replace the need for importing seeds.

Read more at The Korea Times (Nam Hyun-woo)

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