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Yoon: Korea to support rice production in seven African countries

Yoon: Korea to support rice production in seven African countries

Posted May. 22, 2023 08:02,   

Updated May. 22, 2023 08:02


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who attended the G7 summit held in Hiroshima, Japan, announced on the 20th that Korea would support rice production in seven poor African countries with the K-Rice Belt (Korean-style rice production belt). During the G7 summit, President Yoon made it clear that he would contribute to strengthening international cooperation in areas such as food and environment.

On Saturday, at the invitation of Japan, the chair country of the G7, President Yoon, who attended the first round of an expanded meeting as an observer, is quoted as saying, “We will strengthen short- and long-term support for countries suffering from food crisis. Korea will join in expanding freedom from hunger and disease.”

President Yoon also asserted, “Through the World Food Program (WFP), we will double the amount of aid to food crisis-ridden countries from the current 50,000 tons to 100,000 tons per annum.” Since 2018, the Korean government has been delivering rice aid to those countries in need through the WFP, an international organization within the United Nations, under the Food Assistance Convention (FAC). In addition, Yoon said, “We will expand and develop the “ASEAN+3 (Korea, China, and Japan) Asean plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR)” as short-term aid to countries facing a food crisis.”

The K-Rice Belt project mentioned as a long-term measure was designed to pass on Korea's experience of achieving rice self-sufficiency, including rice seeds and cultivation technology. This has already been launched in six countries this year, and Korea plans to increase the number of aid countries to more than seven starting next year. At the meeting, President Yoon mentioned Korea's experience of receiving food aid from the international community in the past and said, "We will take the lead in providing food aid to vulnerable countries."

In addition, President Yoon said that Korea would join the "Climate Club" led by the G7 at the second round of the expanded meeting. The Climate Club, spearheaded by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 without negatively impacting the climate. In a briefing on the same day, Senior Presidential Secretary for Public Relations Kim Eun-hye explained, “This points to our intention to actively contribute to the international community in establishing an international norm for decarbonization.”

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com