SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s arable land shrank in 2017 from a year earlier as some rice paddies and fields were converted into residential houses or public facilities, data showed Monday.
The size of arable land came to 1.62 million hectares at the end of last year, down 1.4 percent on-year, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
The total rice paddy area dropped 3.4 percent on-year to 865,000 hectares, while the amount of dry fields, including orchards, rose 1.1 percent to 756,000.
The decline in rice paddies came amid a chronic supply glut of rice and dwindling rice consumption in South Korea.
For decades, rice consumption by South Koreans has been declining steadily due mainly to changes in diet and eating habits.
Per capita rice consumption in South Korea hit a fresh record low last year amid rapid changes in eating habits, with the average annual consumption of rice per person falling to 61.8 kilograms last year, down 0.2 percent from the previous year’s 61.9 kg, according to government data.