South Korea’s chili output fell to the lowest level in 39 years this year due to reduced acreage, droughts and insect invasions, the latest state data showed.
The country’s total output of chili came to 55,700 tons this year, down 34.8 percent from around this time last year, according to the Statistics Korea on Friday. That is the lowest since 1978 when the tally was 42,200 tons.
Acreage for harvest totaled 28,300 hectares, down 11.9 percent from a year ago and 48.4 percent from 2007. Output per 10 acres of land was 197 kilograms, down 25.9 percent from last year.
The aging of the rural population has caused a serious farm-labor shortage, resulting in a reduction in the acreage for labor-intensive chili farming, the government said.
The government is now releasing state reserves of chili to stabilize chili prices that already surged at a time when kimchi is prepared for cold months of winter. Imports from China are also expected to increase to meet local demands.
By Lee Yu-sup and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]