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S. Korea to sign MOU on overseas food aid

2018/02/26 11:00

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SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will sign an agreement with an international food assistance body to send rice to three African nations grappling with food shortages and to two conflict-stricken Middle Eastern nations in the latter half of this year, the agriculture ministry said Monday.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said it will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Food Assistance Convention (FAC) to send about 50,000 tons of rice worth 46 billion won (US$30.5 million) to five nations -- Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Yemen and Syria.

Agriculture minister Kim Young-rok will attend a signing ceremony scheduled for Wednesday in Rome on the sidelines of a council meeting of FAC members.

It will be the first aid to come from South Korea, which recently joined the FAC to support developing nations with food shortages and ease oversupply in the domestic rice market.

South Korea had 300,000 tons of excess rice in 2016, as the 4.2 million tons of staple grain produced exceeded the 3.9 million tons consumed domestically, according to the ministry.

The chronic oversupply of rice comes as a growing number of South Koreans have been reducing their rice intake and diversifying their diets with alternatives like wheat, barley, beans and corn.

The FAC is a 14-nation convention aimed at promoting global food security and providing humanitarian food assistance to developing countries. Members include the United States, the European Union, Canada, Japan and Australia.