South Korea farmland decreases

Posted on : 2009-09-11 12:30 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Ministry figures shows an increase in land reclamation and urban development projects while land used for rice cultivation shrinks

As farmland decreases in South Korea, the average area under cultivation per person has dwindled to half 1978’s figures. Farmland last year dropped to a record low of 1.759 million hectares.

According to a press release by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Thursday, farmland nationwide, including rice fields, is estimated at 1.759 million hectares. This represents a decrease from 1.782 million hectares in 2007. Moreover, this represents a steady decline from 2.298 million hectares in 1970, 2.196 million hectares in 1980, 2.109 million hectares in 1990, and 1.889 million hectares in 2000. Farmland size assessment occurs every November.

Due to a population increase and absolute decrease in farmland, the average area of land under cultivation per person has also dwindled rapidly. In 2008, this was recorded at 3.62 acres in 2008, down from 7.31 acres in 1970, 5.76 acres in 1980, 4.92 acres in 1990, and 3.99 acres in 2000. One hectare is 10 thousand square meters and one acre equals 100 square meters.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s territory has increased to 9.983 million hectares from 9.848 million hectares over the past 38 years due to land reclamation projects, and the ratio for farmland has decreased to 17.6 percent from 23.3 percent.

A ministry official said, “We have recently had implemented several massive development projects, such as the Innovation City, Multifunctional Administrative City, and new town projects that have resulted in a decrease in available farmland for the past two to three years.”

At the same time, as rice cultivation has shrunk and the production of cash crops or vegetable and fruits has increased, the dry-land field ratio was 40.5 percent. It is the first time since 1970 that the ratio reached higher than 40 percent.

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