SEJONG -- South Korean rice will be sent to Southeast Asian developing countries through an international food aid program for the first time in history, the agriculture ministry said Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, a panel of the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve approved South Korea's plan earlier this week to offer 750 tons of rice to the food aid program.
Launched in 2013 by 10 countries of the ASEAN, South Korea, Japan and China, APTERR is aimed at safeguarding the region's food security in case of emergencies, such as floods and droughts.
Out of the 750 tons of South Korean rice, 500 tons will go to Myanmar and 250 tons to Cambodia through APTERR's food aid program around next month.
The ministry said that it is the first time that the government-run rice stockpiles are donated to a third country through an international framework.
South Korea is the only country in the world to have become a donor country after being a recipient of UN aid in half a century. This transformation has inspired many developing nations to follow in the country's footsteps to advance their respective economies.
The APTERR participation is also part of the Seoul government's plan to deal with a chronic oversupply of rice in the country stemming from a sharp drop in rice consumption.
Some 300,000 tons of rice remained in excess last year, as the 4.2 million ton supply outnumbers the 3.9 million tons consumed, and the glut will likely stay at 200,000 tons in 2017. (Yonhap)