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Food ministry vows to double K-food exports by 2027

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : June 28, 2023 - 15:32

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The South Korean government on Wednesday unveiled a plan to drastically ramp up Korea's food exports to combat stagnancy in the domestic food market and to capitalize on the K-food boom overseas.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced a plan that aims to nearly double Korea's agricultural exports from $8.82 billion in 2021 to $15 billion by 2027.

With the new plan, the Food Ministry said it will vie for a 9 percent on-year growth on average and ultimately raise the value of the nation's food industry to 1,100 trillion won ($842 billion) by 2027, from the 656 trillion won logged in 2021.

In order to achieve the goals, the Food Ministry said it will nurture the development of cutting-edge food technologies to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized Korean food companies.

The ministry also plans to establish a food tech cluster aiming to engage various institutions including universities and research institutes to jointly develop high health functional food and foods friendly to elderly consumers, among others.

The government added it will attempt to revitalize the sales of traditional Korean foods such as kimchi, traditional liquor and jang (fermented paste) by developing automated food manufacture processes and ramping up the country’s fermentation technology.

A raw material relay platform, which will connect Korean farms to the food industry by fostering the expansion of contract cultivation, will also be established.

The government will also seek to ease regulations regarding the employment of foreign workers to resolve the labor shortage in the Korean food industry. Plans to raise awareness of K-food by creating high-end tour packages for renowned Korean restaurants are scheduled to be set in motion by 2027, the ministry added.

The plans come amid national population decline and worker shortages in the domestic food market, contrasted with a growing demand for Korean food overseas, the government said.