SEJONG, Oct. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s per capita annual rice consumption fell an average 2.3 percent annually over the past three decades, data showed Thursday.
Per capita average annual rice consumption hit a record low of 61 kilograms in 2018, compared with a record high of 136.4 kilograms in 1970, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
Rice is a key staple food for Koreans, but its consumption has been on a steady decline since 1980, when per capita average annual rice consumption stood at 132.4 kilograms.
The decline is mainly blamed on changes in the diets and eating habits of South Koreans.
South Korea’s rice output came to 5.29 million tons in 2017, accounting for 0.7 percent of global rice production.
China is the world’s largest rice producer with 27.9 percent, followed by India with 21.9 percent, Indonesia with 10.6 percent and Bangladesh with 6.4 percent.
Currently, South Korea imposes a 513 percent tariff on imported rice for quantities outside the quota of 409,000 tons of annual rice imports from the U.S. and four other countries under the system of tariff-rate quotas meant to provide minimum market access.
South Korea’s rice paddy area came to 760,000 hectares — about half the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut — in 2017, Statistics Korea said.