Posted November. 19, 2004 23:08,
Farmers held a large-scale demonstration against the opening of the rice market and showed their support of the agricultural cooperative union law reform at the Seoul Plaza in front of city hall on the afternoon of November 19.
About 350 farmer groups, including the Korean Advanced Farmers Federation (chairman, Seo Jeong-eui) and the head office of Pan-people Agreement Campaign for Protecting our Rice, paraded to Seoul Station Plaza after holding the 3.5 million farmers rally for protecting our rice and urging the agricultural cooperative union law reform.
About 14,000 farmers (estimated by the police) nationwide participated in the rally. The Korean Advanced Farmers Federation urged, We are in principle against the additional opening of the rice market. We request from the government a 10-year grace period from imposing tariffs on rice and not to accept Chinas demand to increase our obligatory rice imports from four to 8.9 percent of the current domestic consumption.
The Korean Advanced Farmers Federation also added, We welcome the governments policy of introducing a direct payment system for income guarantee beginning next year. However, we cannot accept the policy of eliminating a system of purchasing an autumnal harvest grain by the government and converting it into a system of public-saving for emergencies.