The Korea Herald


Seoul to widen supply of Chuseok food items


Published : Aug. 16, 2011 - 19:24

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Seoul plans to widen the supply of fruit, fish and fresh harvest products in the two weeks prior to Chuseok to control prices rising fast due to the long rainy spell, the Agriculture Ministry said.

It will select 15 staple food items and allocate them evenly at major retailers and wholesale market places between Aug. 29 and Sept. 10 to prevent prices of in-demand items propelling the already above-target inflation rate.

“We aim to increase the supply of items such as pork, beef and eggs from state reserves by up to 1.8 times. Supply of some fruits including locally produced pears and apple will be increased threefold,” the Agriculture Ministry said.

Agriculture Minister Seo Gyu-yong convened a meeting Tuesday with heads of the agricultural development center, Forest Ministry and other relevant agencies to examine the impact of the torrential rain on the prices of key items for the three-day traditional thanksgiving festival on the lunar calendar. Chuseok falls on Sept. 11-13.

“The typhoon and the rain are expected to have a limited impact on the supply of food items but because Chuseok comes about 10 days earlier this year than last year, we’re preparing for the shortage,” the ministry said.

Some of the heaviest rains in the country in the past month saw crops die and thousands of poultry lost at flooded farms.

Staple seafood items are also in short supply as fish farms have been damaged by the deluge of fresh water.

The Finance Ministry in July cut its growth forecast for the economy and raised inflation outlook this year, backing off from its ambitious targets due to persistent price hikes and weakening consumption. It projects the economy to grow 4.5 percent this year, down from the 5 percent projected earlier. It now sees inflation hitting 4 percent. Consumer inflation has stayed above the Bank of Korea’s 2-4 percent range for the past seven months.

By Cynthia J. Kim (