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S. Koreans' rice consumption halves in 30 yrs

All News 13:51 June 07, 2016

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) – The annual rice consumption of the South Korean population has halved over the past three decades due mainly to changes in diet and eating habits, government data showed Tuesday.

Per capita rice consumption in South Korea reached 62.9 kilograms per year in 2015, sharply down from the 128.1 kg tallied in 1985, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

South Koreans consumed 172.4 g of rice per day last year, also down 3.3 percent from a year earlier, indicating that they eat less than two bowls of rice every day. A rice bowl weighs an average of 100 g.

At the same time, consumption of non-rice grains, including barley and wheat, edged up 1.1 percent on-year to 8.8 kg in 2015, the statistical agency said.

The sharp decrease in rice consumption and a bumper harvest year in 2015 led to a surge in the total stock of the country's staple grain, with rice production reaching a six-year high of 4.33 million tons.

The rice inventory reached 1.83 million tons as of February, far excess of the recommended level of 800,000 tons by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The South Korean government is making efforts to help rice producers tap overseas markets and develop food and beverages that use rice in order to boost consumption and keep up with people's diversified tastes.

Earlier this year, South Korean rice was exported to China for the first time in history, with a total of 2,000 tons of rice expected to be shipped to the neighboring country by the end of this year.

brk@yna.co.kr
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