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S. Korea to see limited impact on local markets from global food insecurity: vice finance minister

South Korean Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom (Yonhap)
South Korean Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom (Yonhap)
South Korea’s first vice finance minister said Friday the global food insecurity worsened by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will not have a serious impact on the local food supply chain, but the government will continue to keep an eye on the market condition.

“According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the FAO Food Price Index has continued its upward trend in recent months, signaling food insecurity around the globe,” Kim Yong-beom, first vice minister of finance, said in a meeting with related officials at the headquarters of the Korea Development Bank, Seoul.

“The country will see a limited impact on local markets from global food insecurity since domestic rice production can ensure stable rice supply and the government has secured sufficient quantities for grains like wheat and corn that can be supplied until the first quarter next year,” Kim said. 

He pledged that the government will ramp up efforts to closely monitor the market condition, running a task force to check the global food insecurity and employing private food companies’ network of foreign grain suppliers to maintain stable supply if necessary.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks the monthly change in international prices of food commodities, including cereals, meat and sugar, averaged 100.9 points last month, the highest since December 2014 with 105.2 points, up 3 points from the previous month. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, the world global food prices rose for the third straight month in August, according to the UN’s food agency. 

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, movement restrictions to contain the virus spread have disrupted food production in many countries, creating global food security risks, it explained. 

Meanwhile, Kim vowed to build 1,000 smart factories applied with 5G and artificial intelligence across the nation by 2025, as a follow-up measure to the Moon Jae-in administration‘s “Digital New Deal” program announced in July that aims to spend 58.2 trillion won ($52.6 billion) on digital projects to create some 900,000 jobs.

By Choi jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com
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